Senin, 16 Januari 2017

A loyal supporter of Deaf Community, Dissa

Who knows I came to Fingertalk two years ago that would influencing my life more colorful. I didn’t come to see the first Deaf café, but I came to meet Italian Deaf tourists. A stranger woman with hijab is well known as a friendly person came in and said hello to everyone. My friend told me that she is Dissa Syakina Ahdanisa and she is also the founder of Fingertalk café.
 Dissa's nice smile and positive aura will always be your first impression 

She sat down next to me and began the conversation with me in mixed three sign languages; American – Singapore – Indonesia. She shared a bit of story about her beginning journey is looking for any course or school which provides sign language class. Based in Singapore, Dissa learned sign language with The Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADEAF). She actually thought about opening the cafe first in Singapore, but decided on the otherwise as she felt that disabled communities in Indonesia need more support than their Singaporean counterpart. 

She got in touch with Fedina Sundaryani (College of Asia Pacific Studies, Fall 2013, Indonesia), an APU alumna working as a reporter in Indonesia, who has been writing some articles about Deaf community in the country. From her, she got to know Ms. Pat Sulistiowati, former chairperson of Gerakan untuk Kesejahteraan Tuna Rungu Indonesia (Indonesia Association Welfare of the Deaf) who had been teaching handcrafting to the Deaf community since 1970s. Ms. Pat originally offered her workshop to use for free, but Dissa insisted that they should at least pay a rent lest the project may become a financial burden for Ms. Pat. Hence, Fingertalk Cafe is not simply a volunteer activity. It is a social entrepreneurship project that is hoped to be able to self-sustain its activities.
A modest Fingertalk Deaf Cafe 
Ratih is our in-house batik artist and she is able to teach us to make batik. 
One of Fingertalk workers is Rina. She is Deaf-blind, but she is very talented in knitting. 

Another day, I was surprise to know that Dissa has mutual friend on facebook. She went to same high school with my cousin, Gita Prisilfia. Since it happened, we were following each other on social media. The longer, the more I know about her. Dissa has grown up to be a sociable person by following her mother’s noble job since she was in elementary school. She helped her mother to cook and shared food to underprivileged neighbours. One of her best memories is interact with a Deaf old man at Nursing Home for first time. He teached Dissa about how to spell her name in sign language. 
 My cousin, Gita Prisilfia 
I am impressed to know that it is not everyday all six of them could be together, so when they are, they cherish the moment.
During her volunteering time in Nicaragua, she came across this very unique café called “Café de Las Sonrisas”, which is the first café in Latin America to have all Deaf employees. They also have a hammock workshop where proceeds from the hammock sale provide income to its Deaf workers. This café encouraged her to open Fingertalk in Indonesia, because she knows that it is very challenging for people with disabilities to find jobs in Indonesia. The competition is fierce, especially for the Deaf as they have to compete with their hearing counterparts, and there are not many employment opportunities for Deaf people in Indonesia. We hope that Fingertalk, with its café and workshop concept could also be a place that brings people together regardless of their abilities.
I have followed page of seek the world since one years ago. The owner of seek the world page is Calvin Young, a Deaf traveler. Calvin has met and interacted with plenty of Deaf communities from different countries and shared amazing stories, stunning photographs, jaw-dropping videos and many more on his page. Unfortunately, I wasn't following it while Calvin was visiting Indonesia with his Deaf dad and grand-dad. Calvin published his interview video with Dissa on youtube in few months later. Well done! I am truly jealous of her. However, Dissa is a loyal supporter of Deaf Indonesian community, so she deserves it!

When I came to Fingertalk for third time, Dissa was able to host Deaf Youth Leaders from the United States and Indonesia who came for a United States - Indonesia Deaf Youth Leadership Program. There were twenty inspiring delegates, including me who joined the program and visiting Fingertalk was on our agenda. Dissa also invited over 50 members of the local Deaf community to come and join a sharing session with these delegates.
 Americans had to experienced so many photo requests in all of their life. Americans fall asleep on the bus then. 
Three month later, I was honored for attending her Fingertalk first AWESOMEVERSARY. I was also selected by her for representing Dr Mason Global to receive a placard. In this anniversary, there were her friends from France, Tokyo, Singapore and of course Indonesia. There were also hearing and Deaf friends hung out together too. In addition to it, I was glad to have her quote on my note, maa shaa Allah..
Dissa and her awesome crews
Underprivileged kids's great performance
Dissa and her best supporters
Dissa and I
" They live in houses made from plywood and cardboard, but they are the sweetest kids. So happy to welcome my amazing friends from APU Singapore Alumni chapter and other close friends from USA, Tunisia and Singapore! You guys are amazing and the kids were soo happy meeting you all today! " - Dissa

She joined Young SouthEast Asian Leaders Initiative Professional Fellow 2016 goes to the United States for 6 weeks ( April 23 - June 3 ) as a delegate. Supposedly, it's not a new surprise! She finished high school with acceleration program, then she received bachelor of business administration in Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University - Japan and master of professional accounting in University of New South Wales - Australia. She has ever experience for working as a volunteer in many times. She was spread the love and help the children, even if they are thousand miles away, or on the other side of the globe.
What is YSEALI? Recognizing that over 65 percent of the population in Southeast Asia is under the age of 35, the White House launched the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) to augment leadership development and networking in the 10 ASEAN countries; deepen engagement with young leaders across critical sectors; and strengthen people-to-people ties between the United States and young leaders across the region.
Dissa was in a class 
Dissa's graduation day
She worked with Education Plus Nicaragua, a grassroots organization that supports children education, in one of the classiest town in Latin America.
In Setrawa, a remote village located two hours away from Jodhpur, India, I worked with more than 30 underprivileged Dalit children from the untouchable caste. Together with the local teacher, we conducted after school program, teaching basic English and hygiene. Also, we used English songs and games in order to create better learning experience.

Next, I am appreciate of her accomplishment. She was a hardworking person I've ever seen. She browsed about international Deaf youth programs, such as World Federation of the Deaf in Singapore - International Conference of Deaf Muslim in Malaysia and register to be one of speakers. She also made friends with international Deaf people for talking about Deaf empowerment. After accomplishing those opportunities, she diligently made contribution or held a presentation time in few days later. 

 I will be presenting today at WFD Asia Conference at 3.15 pm - Function Room NTUC Centre 
 Cant wait to meet other participants tomorrow! Thank you for having us #icdm2016 ! 
 Thank you for fitting me into your super busy schedule!! it was great seeing you!!! 
Top Deaf traveler
 Top Deaf DJ Nico DiMarco - Nyle DiMarco's twin
3 December 2016 is not only celebrated as the third anniversary of YSEALI, but also as International Day of Persons with Disability. In order to celebrate both occasions, Fingertalk Deaf Cafe and Car Wash, held an event called “Batik Inklusi”, an inclusive Batik workshop for Deaf and Hearing people. By following theme “With Batik, We are Equal” Dissa was hope that we could bridge the gap and communication barrier between Hearing and Deaf community through learning Batik together as a very important part of Indonesian culture. 
#YSEALIalumni coordinator @putraditya25 came to Fingertalk to announced that YSEALI is now accepting application for people with disability

The United States President, Barack Obama singled out the cafe’s founder, Dissa Ahdanisa, as an inspirational example while addressing a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative - YSEALI at Town Hall meeting in Luang Prabang, Laos. The part in which he talks about Dissa starts just before the 11 minute mark :
 When President Obama said "Keep up the good work!", 
you will keep it up and you shall never stop. 
 You can see how much she respects her supporters in accomplishing her goals 

Thank you #YSEALI and #statedept for letting me be part of this life-changing #YSEALIsummit. I was mentioned by President Obama, still cannot believe it. He highlighted Fingertalk and he said he felt very inspired with our work. 

Thank you soo much everyone! 

Thank you deaf community in Indonesia, USA and Singapore. I would never have gotten here without you. Thank you mum and dad for praying for me every single day. Thank you Fingertalk, and all my crew, I love you! Now let's get working!  
A very humble, selfless, loving friend who's always there for me, who's always there to help others, who think of others before herself, who selflessly spend most of her time helping others. I'm thankful to Allah for knowing you, for having you as my good friend. You have shown me what a true friend was. She surprised me by patting my shoulder from behind. She was holding a candle on a cutting board and her friend was holding a birthday tart. Another friends applauded their hands then recorded this best memory. I didn't need much words to describe the happiness of being next to them.
We were still keeping balance time between busy doing activities and spending time together as sisters. We had a really fun conversation with new visitors at Fingertalk. She  occasionally invited me to stay at her home and visit her Tahfizh Qur'an As-Sakinah. I hardly believe that she was staying at a modest home, her neighbours on along the road towards As-Sakinah waved their hand to her family that were going there, and she made sure hearing and Deaf people or international and local people can be unite.
Ninis is also a fellow #APU student. She is my BF. I made they have a quick APU reunion.
We were with sweet couple - Simon (a board member of WFDYS) and Erika
Bakar Ali (a Somalian Deaf)

 Friendship knows no border and across all abilities. Deaf, hearing, Indonesian, Tunisian, we are all sisters :) Alhamdulillah, I am thankful for meeting these two amazing ladies. They have enriched my life in different way, unique from one another. Our first encounter may just be for a brief minute, but insya Allah the sisterhood will last a lifetime. - Dissa Ahdanisa  

Sourer (a Tunisian hearing)
 As Sakinah is a small non-profit organization focusing on children education in South Tangerang. "Sakinah" in Arabic means 'peace' and 'serenity', which exactly what they found after working with these beautiful faces. Dissa's mother and her friends started As Sakinah initially to teach Qur'an and English to those children, who were not fortunate enough to obtain formal education. However, with help from lots of people and donors, many of these children are now able to go to school. 
I had a reason to choose Dissa as my companion and interpreter for attending Dinner Reception at the US Deputy Chief of Mission's Residence to welcome Catherine Russel, US Ambassador at large for Women's issue. It's promote that the importance of civilize a teamwork between hearing and Deaf. We were glad to meet Mr. Brian McFeeters - Acting Ambassador for the US and our favorite ibu Holly Zardus - the mother of all of the cool exchange program. 
Our special invitation
We were on a interview with Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer for the US Embassy

References :

I'm getting ready for listening your fabulous new stories, love - Nia

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