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The ‘Kartini’ lights go global through the promising VOF!

A picture speaks a thousand words

I used to talk with my friend overseas; using blog, emails and chatting. I used teleconference to discuss my first son’s marriage plan in 2006 over three difference places and countries. We even got the minutes after the occasion. I felt nothing so important – just the way it should be; due to I was growing within Information Communication Technology (ICT) for almost 25 years; I studied computer and worked for more than 20 years in computer unit.

However, something happened to me within my working environment. There were some constraints that limit my communication due to bureaucracy and regulations; I got difficulties to visit the fields. The spoon of sand became a hill of sand; then it changed into stone and somehow it blocked my ways to move on. My friend said no need to waste my energy due to he believed it is blocked; not because of miscommunication.

Within powerless situation, I remember Michael Foucault (2000): Information is power! Fund is not the main vehicle either - I could not do my gender programmes freely although funds were available; those even became idle due to the support condition never came to my table. The implementation was difficult due to no approval to utilize it. I was like a bird in the gold nest.
In 18th century my country Indonesia has a shero namely, Kartini. She was forced to get married with very rich man and became second wife. However, she never stopped writing and sending many letters to her friends in Netherland. She paid interest to the education for girls and women; the need of women advancement in the family as men’s partners. She died when delivering her baby with silence. However, her bright ideas expressed in her letters then being published in the book: “After darkness then comes the light”. Kartini is the gender shero in Indonesia; she brought the education light to all women and girls in Indonesia. Up to now her birthday, 21 April is commemorated in Indonesia as ‘Kartini Day’

I inspired by the spirit. I have never given up due to I am the woman with ICT! I advocated and socialized my programme to each country one by one through emails. No opportunity for doing the joint programmes among several countries; but apparently I succeeded performed link in silence with several countries. They invited me to come jumping over the 'stone'. Kartini light is in my hands and it is spreading over the networks overseas and across countries.

I found news about VOF in one email from my network. I read with enthusiasm and I believe this is the true promising programme to promote the gender equality and women’s empowerment, it may advocate more people for sounding the voices, choices and forces to be agents of changes faster for the world! This is not limited by people, by places, by organization, by bureaucracy; nor even by the time. The Kartini lights go global amazingly for the promising VOF!



rhianr's picture


Erna, I'm impressed and moved by the way that your country's history has influenced your personal story, in such a clear way. Thank you for sharing, Rhian

Erna Surjadi's picture

Kartini spirit vs limitation

Dear Rhian,

Thanks dear for your compliments.
I heard Kartini story since my childhood in the history subject at preliminary school.
However, I understand better after I involved in gender mainstreaming programmes when working for ministry and studied gender in the university. Her limitation from culture was not blocked her ideas to support women's education in Indonesia.

The Kartini spirits has inspired the women and nation not to give up education in whatsoever limitations and is an valuable asset indeed.
Indonesia has succeeded reaching about 100% the MDG2 up to junior high school (9years learning) due to we have Law for all girls to attend the nine years education nationally. We are still struggling for higher levels especially for rural and isolated areas.

The ICT open more access and opportunity with open and distance learning especially for university level.

I think VOF opens specific benefits not only as resources for education and learning but also the spirits which needed for capacity building.
Brava and viva VOF!


harinees's picture


As someone interested in the functioning of ICTs, I was very interested in learning more about some of the problems you faced. What I would have liked to see in your article is details about how you expect VOF or becoming a global correspondent for Worldpulse to help you personally, and thereby help others.

Dear Harinees,

Thanks for your comment on the Kartini article I wrote.
During my long working time in computer areas for information system and gender movement; I mostly done it for organizations within rigid organization structure for supporting the goals, vision and mission. I put interest to domestic violence victims who were mostly women; I am crazy to promote gender harmony for future life!

Not long ago when I worked for regional and involved in a wider network I realized that ICT is truely only a tool which even easily being shifted to support 'white collar crime' if you are not protected; this is used easily to block the programmes and spread fraud and gossip without mercy.
In the other hand, the VOF brings a promise about rights, a freedom to speak; which is not a guarantee any more within organizations, even within international organizations. I always believe teaching is also learning; by sharing experiences you got more and more value in life. In religion, we believe that good job with sincerity is valued by God - it is not between you and others; but between you and God. The good work if even rejected by people will be echo back as blessings to you.

I have to admit on the third week of VOF, I found the strong waves of distance spirits, desire, hopes and demand which were missed from big international organizations. I learned a lot as human, as manager, as advocator, as friend, as scientist and as woman; and I want to distribute back those findings into teaching material, advocacy modules, creating live-networks; and I am thinking to create a new creativity for women in Africa, Asia and other parts of the world using ICT, through pulsewire if applicable.

It is hoped the global correspondent give more opportunities to assist people both sides, the providers and users; who needed the knowledge attitude and practice on gender equality, women's empowerment and gender harmony.

Let's pray God be with us.


EleanorJohnstone's picture

Hey Ema, Thank you so much

Hey Ema,

Thank you so much for your story. I find your process, and your progress, very inspiring! It's amazing how beautifully our family lives can be shaped by telecommunication now; the distances become so much shorter. Could you tell me more about your specific program, the one you mentioned that is being spread to several countries? I am just not too clear on what it is. But I would love to know!

~ Eleanor

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