The Jakarta Post
Rests on top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in February. It was the first of seven summits mountain that she has climbed. (Diansyah Putri Handayani/File)
When we hear the term "women’s empowerment", what may come to mind is training sessions, lectures or other educational programs. Diansyah Putri Handayani, however, decided to lead by example, and try to empower women through her love for mountaineering.
The graduate of the University of Indonesia’s school of civil engineering and University of Pittsburgh’s business administration master program has recently raised the Indonesian flag on the summit of Mt. Ama Dablam in the Himalayas, which, according to records, makes her the first Indonesian woman to do so.
Speaking about her experience, Putri, whose interest in mountaineering was initially sparked during junior high school in Medan said she would not use the word “conquer” to describe her achievements.
“I don’t think that it is the right term because I really struggled,” she said. “You are actually reminded that you are nothing, that it (nature) could take away your life at any time.”
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Putri raises the Indonesian flag at the Carstenz Pyramid or Mt. Puncak Jaya (Jayawijaya), Papua, in August.(Diansyah Putri Handayani/File)
The journey to Ama Dablam is actually only one part of Putri’s preparation to top summits all around the world. In fact, she is in now involved in several mountaineering-related projects slated to commence next year. The projects, named Calyx-365 and Calyx-777, will be run by the Calyx Foundation—an organization under the architectural firm Canadian Super Igloos (CSI) Domes— in which Putri is the vice president and a co-founder.
Calyx-365 has the objective of building 365 schools or classrooms a year for around 70-200 students in mountainous rural areas around the world. Meanwhile, Calyx-777 is a mountain climbing program to ascend the seven highest summits in the world, such as the Carstenz Pyramid in Indonesia, Mt. Everest on the border of Nepal and China and Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, with the objective of fundraising educational campaigns, women’s empowerment and school building in remote mountain areas.
Putri with residents of Papua.(Diansyah Putri Handayani/File)
Putri explained that Calyx-777 would be carried out by seven women from seven continents, but will be spearheaded by herself.
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After leaving an established position in a prestigious oil company in Dubai, Putri is aware that there will be a lot of challenges in bringing the project to fruition. “It’s just like in the mountains, it’s challenging but I’m sure that it will be rewarding,” she said.
“This is my way of empowering women. It is my way to say that women too, can succeed in a field that is not traditionally filled by women,” she said, noting that the field did not necessarily have to be mountaineering.
“You have to dream big. No matter what the struggle or the challenge is, or the hard work that you have to do, you are going to get there if you want to. You just need to work hard and have determination,” Putri said, saying that she chose mountaineering because it was her passion. (asw)