The Jakarta Post
On Monday, Dina Novista Noach started her new job as a special staff member to East Nusa Tenggara governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat.
Dina, who was born with physical disabilities, said she felt honored by her new title. “It was unexpected, and I almost didn’t believe it. This is surely a big step for disabled people in getting equal opportunities,” she told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
The second child of six, she is now on her last semester in Nusa Cendana University’s Faculty of Social and Political Science in Kupang. In 2019, she came in third place in a writing competition held by the East Nusa Tenggara administration.
“In the piece, I wrote a protest to the administration, which I felt had not given serious attention to public services for people with disabilities,” said Dina.
As a winner, she received a prize of Rp 50 million (US$3,388.03). Viktor, who was present at the event, appointed her a special staff member and advisor on people with disabilities.
Dina said her family and friends, some of whom also had disabilities, were proud of her achievement. “My friends were elated that we finally had a representative who was trusted by the administration and could voice our opinions,” Dina said.
Dina Novista Noach (second left) poses with her friends at the East Nusa Tenggara governor's office. (Courtesy of/Dina Novista Noach )
“My main task is to help the government be inclusive in all its programs so that the rights of disabled people will not be neglected,” she said.
Dina plans to create an administrative regulation on the rights of people with disabilities. “I hope that our rights can be fulfilled and that East Nusa Tenggara will be an inclusive province.”
Berti Soli Dima Malingara, a friend of Dina’s, said that Dina could start an inclusive movement in the province. “I have learned so much from her, and being supportive of each other is our strength,” she said.
Berti said the governor’s building was still not readily accessible to disabled people but that the staff had made them feel welcome and inspired to join the movement. (wng)