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‘We Are Born Perfect’

Rina Prasarani Has a Message for Disabled Women: “Don’t Give Up, Keep Fighting, and Show We Can.”

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Rina Prasarani is a blind disability rights activist from Jakarta and a single mother of two. When the pandemic hit, she took on another role: entrepreneur. After the hotel she was working at closed, she began selling frozen foods and fashion products. “At that time, I thought about what people still need during a pandemic,” she says. “I saw there that the chances of frozen food are very high because the average person at home doesn’t dare to go out.” Prasarani bought her first freezer with the help of her sister; she started her business with just two and a half kilos of frozen French fries. “In carrying out my daily life, I am the same as women in general,” she says. As an example, Prarsarini does her own makeup, memorizing the feel of the packaging for each product and its various colors and asking friends for feedback. As a single mother, she often takes her oldest son, who is blind and autistic, to therapy on her own. “Keep believing that everything must have a way,” says Prarsarini. “When we encounter difficulties, that is where our opportunity to find solutions creatively.”

Editing assistance by Ziyu Peng

Photo of Mahretta Maha.

Filmmaker: Mahretta Maha

Mahretta “Retta” Maha is a blind disability rights activist hailing from Jakarta, Indonesia. She is one of four children. Of all the children, Maha's parents prioritized sending Retta to college and eventually law school. She earned a law degree from Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia. In June 2020, Maha became a program officer at the Center for Election Access of Citizens with Disabilities (PPUA), which is part of the National Coalition of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities. PPUA works to ensure equal rights for persons with disabilities to vote, be elected, and organize elections.

As a program officer at PPUA, Maha coordinates with coalition leaders, writes letters to institutions and stakeholders, organizes webinars, and helps manage social media accounts. Overall, Maha finds purpose in serving others. Maha says, “Blindness is not a barrier for you to do some things but is a challenge for you to do many things.”

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