What inspires you to start your activities in the morning? What is your drive?
I like to have a meaningful life and be useful for others.
What set you on this path?
To me life flows, just like water. I believe that I have been destined to do what I do. I have never planned to do what I do now. In Javanese there is a saying - life is just living.
What advice do you have for young women who want to take a similar path?
To be consistent, to persevere, and never give up. I believe in this sentence wholeheartedly,” I am a woman and I am willing to be patient to achieve my goal.” Women must be patient so what we want will come true. This is my belief when I don’t have the resources when a village needs electricity or when a community needs clean water facilities or a school. I will do my best, because I believe there are good people out there who also want to help – I just need to find one.
What is your favorite quote?
You only live once, make it count.
In your opinion, what is the biggest issue of Indonesia's development now and how to overcome it?
Sometimes I think, poverty happens by design. Often, the system used to help people is so complicated. Even things that are actually simple could be complicated because of bureaucracy. It is difficult for people to have innovations when it comes to poverty alleviation because of such complicated procedures.
But I really believe, when we have good intentions, God will show the way. Thankfully there are good bureaucrats who understand that many innovations are needed to accelerate the poverty alleviation process and help the community.
So if you want development in Indonesia to be more effective, the Government must trust the people more and the track records of the development actors must be reviewed thoroughly and extensively. This review process must be independent and undertaken by capable people with high integrity.
How do you see Indonesia in the next 25 years?
We need to develop and prepare young Indonesians to have 'revolutionary enthusiasm”— the passion to always make changes for the better. My husband and I are preparing it together with the Provincial Government of West Java and also with the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs. I am hopeful that young people will continue to improve their skills and abilities. I believe that the youths of Indonesia must have technical skills, the will to fight for improvement, the ability to master social skills, and also to maintain their own humility. I am optimistic that when our youths have these characteristics, Indonesia can become a great nation for years to come.
What change would you like to see that could bring greater equality in Indonesia?
For gender issues, I believe there must be affirmative policy and affirmative action to advance women. Inclusive development must be implemented for women, especially at the grassroots level. We have to give a great deal of space and many opportunities so women can improve their abilities.
If you could use one word to describe women in East Asia Pacific what would it be?
Women in the East Asia Pacific region have made extraordinary contributions to the development of families and their own nations. There is one word that can describe them, 'incredible'.
**The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank Group and its employees.