Ibu Rusidah was born healthy and normal. However, even after both her arms had to be amputated when she grew up, she refused to be drawn into misery.
After graduating from high school in Purworejo regency, Central Java, she was admitted to Dr. Suharso Rehabilitation Center for People with Disabilities in Surakarta, also Central Java, in 1989. During her three-year stay there, she learned photography.
Afterwards, Rusidah decided to come home in Botorejo village, Bayan district, Purworejo, and began earning money as a freelance photographer. She used a specially modified camera and was often asked to capture moments at weddings or government events.
Due to her photography skills, then First Lady Ani Yudhoyono in 2011 invited Rusidah to attend the former’s exhibition at the Galeri Nasional in Jakarta. She also appeared on magazine covers as well as on a television talk show.
Technology has played a big role in Rusidah’s life. While people now capture moments on their mobile phones, there are always her regular customers who wait for her.
On Dec. 21, 2016, Rusidah left her home to travel to the Purworejo regency hall, four kilometers away. There was a flower arrangement competition at the hall. Carrying her DSLR and a compact printer, she took pictures of participants and general audience. They paid Rp 20,000 (US$1.5) for a post-card sized picture.
It was unfortunate that her printer broke down on that day and she needed to print the photos at the nearest store.
She still feels blessed though. “Alhamdulillah [Thank God] for He has given me so much today.” [yan]