FEATURE STORY March 4, 2019

Thinking Equal in Indonesia: Mesty’s Path in Providing Healthcare Access

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On International Women’s Day 2019, we are sharing stories of women doing inspiring work across East Asia and Pacific. Whether in the business world, advocacy, media or countless other sectors, their contributions highlight the transformative power of women in the region. Mesty Ariotedjo is a pediatrician in training and a co-founder of a health crowdfunding platform in Indonesia.

Tell us about yourself.

I am a mother, a wife, also a doctor who is currently continuing my education as a pediatrician. In addition, due to the inequality in access to health facilities and services in Indonesia, with my colleague, Gigih, I established a health crowdfunding platform called WeCare.id.

What inspires you to get up in the morning? What drives you?

Honestly, I am a difficult person to get up early in the morning and always hit snooze on my alarm. But now my baby has become a pleasant wake up call at 4am every day. I always open my eyes to see him smile, it makes me really happy! I'm so excited to wake up early because I have more time to play with my son, Gallendra, before I go to work. 

What set you on this path?

I believe life is dynamic, that we should become flexible. My principle is to always do the best in the things that I do, because it will open up unexpected opportunities in the future. Everything I do has a common thread: giving benefits and kindness to others. No matter how small.

What advice do you have for young women who want to take a similar path?

As a woman, or an individual, we need to know what our priorities are. There is no right and wrong, because it’s subjective. If we have priorities, we know what we should do and what to put aside. I personally choose family as my first priority. Family is the biggest supporter, who will support us to develop and support us in other aspects of life, especially in our careers.

In addition, if you want to do something, think about it for a moment. Look to the problems around us that we can help solve with our competencies. It doesn't have to be a big thing. Do small things as long as it brings goodness.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

"If you cannot feed everyone, feed just one" - Mother Teresa  

What are the biggest issues in Indonesia right now and how can they be addressed?

When a person cannot stand or speak for herself or himself, or when they have no voice when wanting to express something. This makes me often wonder, why are so many Indonesians apathetic? Those who always say "Ah, just let it go" when things are not in accordance with the norm. Instead of talking and looking for solutions to these problems, they tend to avoid the issue, and not face it. I wonder if it’s because our country was colonialized? Or because our past education stresses that it is impolite to question our elders? Or is it an authoritarian educational pattern?

Where do you see Indonesia in 25 years?  

In my opinion in the next 25 years this generation will play a major role in Indonesia’s development. I am quite optimistic because there are many good people with good objectives in this generation. We can see from their works in various fields such as Amartha, KitabisaRuangGuru, and many more. In addition, with vast access to information and more highly educated people, Indonesia can synergize better with other countries.

What change would you like to see that could bring greater equality in Indonesia?

I hope Indonesians become a society that questions more. That is more positive in facing problems (criticizing but also providing solutions), and expressing their opinions about what is good and what is not. In addition, for Indonesian women, whether they want to pursue their career or become housewives, they need to be independent individuals who are ready to face all possibilities and protect themselves and their families.

If you could use one word to describe women in East Asia Pacific what would it be?

Transforming

 

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The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank Group and its employees.



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