Risya | Development and Peace


Risya Syair

"Today, I write about the issues of discrimination faced by people with disabilities, especially women. Women who don’t believe in their power and potential, when they read my writing, they will become motivated because they will see that women can do anything! When I became blind, I was sad and frustrated that I lost my dream, but my father told me that I can still heal people even if I am not doctor. I can heal through my writing." AJI has helped Risya achieve that dream!


Risya Syair, 22, dreamed of being a doctor as a child. Her introduction to medicine ended up being far different from what she expected. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour as a teenager and the subsequent operation to remove the mass left her blind. As she learned to live with her new condition, she discovered a new passion: writing. This young woman first started a blog to share short stories but after attending a workshop offered by AJI, she discovered that she had a lot more to say! She realized that women, especially those with disabilities, are presented as weak and incapable by the media, and her blog could be a way to change that view. Risya is now studying literature at university, and even if she did not go into medicine, she knows that she has found an equally important path for changing society for the better.

Partner Description: AJI

The Association of Independent Journalists - AJI is an organization of independent journalists that has been working on fostering a free and fair press in Indonesia. This is critical in a country that has a poor human rights record and is still emerging as a democracy after decades of dictatorship. AJI has sought to promote human rights and in recent years, it has focused on strengthening the representation of women and other minorities in the media. In the city of Makassar on the island of Sulawesi, AJI began to offer workshops to women’s associations so that participants could analyze and reflect on the portrayal of women in mainstream media and encourage them to change that view through writing.

170 women

have participated in a media workshop offered by AJI. Now they can make their voices heard.

80% of participants

improved their writing and can now write a news report.

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