A Deaf Pioneer From Indonesia

Allow me to tell you about my life. I was born a deaf child due to the rubella virus. Though silence has become my enemy, I never stop fighting and moving on. It is because I still have my eyes, voice, and a strong heart that I keep from falling down. I passed through a rough and challenging life communicating with hearing people and in the classroom. Some schools for deaf and hard of hearing students in my country, Indonesia are inappropriate and provide only a low standard curriculum. Accessibility is also a challenge because some schools, workplaces, and public buildings, are not supported to provide the deaf and hard of hearing people with adequate road signs, clue signs, and at times even interpreters are lacking.

Since I was a 4th-grade student, I felt that it was impossible to accomplish my dream because I was not seen as a capable person for the environment. The people around me never supported me, especially to improve my math skills and science knowledge. It is still perceived that deaf and hard of hearing students cannot learn these subjects. As a result, I believed deaf and hard of hearing people could not learn science and math.

However, since I became a sophomore college student, I was surprised and found out that many deaf and hard of hearing students succeed as scientists, physicians, math teachers, biologists, physicists, and all other jobs related with science and math. Those people inspired and encouraged me to break with my past beliefs. So, I decided to learn English, math, and science on my own.

Then, I was accepted into Rochester Institute of Technology and awarded Sasakawa DeCaro Scholarship for my bachelor degree, Biomedical Science/Pre-Med for 5 years. During my college, I worked part-time to accommodate other expenses which were not accommodated by the scholarship, such as breaks, visa, passport, and flight tickets. That time, I did not back home for 2 years, and I worked hard with my sweat and blood to earn money for visiting my family with my own money.  I also participated in two organizations, which are the Deaf International Student Association (DISA), and the Tiger media Organization. I participated as an event planner assistant for Tiger Media and the culture director for DISA. My golden experience was holding the Holi Festival by educating the Holi Festival to the community regarding how the important this culture to them, and how we celebrate properly.  Not only educating but also providing taste food from India in order to allow the community to experience the India culture through food, activity, and event itself. Another event, I held the Deaf Media Festival, and it was a marvelous result, including the sponsorship from the Student Life Team Department, and the sponsors. I learned how to make a proper and convincing proposal and a formal letter. I also learned how to lead team professionally by setting up meetings weekly and looking solutions together. We invited deaf producers and directors, the Mather movie. (The movie is open now).

Not only participating organizations, but I also volunteered in AMPHL (American Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss), by interacting professionals, guiding the guests for a tour of RIT, and providing the parking pass. It was a big moment to learn from deaf scientists and researchers, they are absolutely my role model and they also inspire me to become a pioneer for the deaf community in Indonesia, especially for STEM and Medical.

Then, with these experiences for 2 years, recently, I was awarded The Outstanding Service for an International Student 2018. This award was a meaningful experience. I also applied for Teaching Assistant positions for a year to teach Organic Chemistry and Anatomy and Physiology.

Right now, I graduated with my proudest accomplishment, earning B.Sci in Biomedical Science with Magna cum laude. My primary goal is earning a Ph.D. degree and recognition by the Indonesian government. I applied and am still waiting from their response. I am accepted into a master program in Anatomy in Fall 2020 at D'Youville College for a year, but I am still looking for better opportunities and scholarships. After I earned my master degree, I would like to continue to my Ph.D. program education because I would like to have strong evidence which proves that Deaf community could learn STEM and medical from me as a pioneer for the deaf community who has a Ph.D. program. Earning a Ph.D. program is my long-term goal to prove that Indonesia Government should change their negative stigma and to set new health regulation and medical education for the deaf community, especially for medical and STEM education. Otherwise, I have to become a deaf pioneer from Indonesia by becoming a college anatomy professor. Not only those dreams and plans but also I want to create a program for preparing the Indonesian deaf people who are interested in STEM and medical field, such as Nathaniel Technical Institute for the Deaf and Rochester Bridge to Doctorate programs. As time goes by, the Indonesian deaf people would be able to earn their STEM and medical degree; the deaf Indonesian scientists and healthcare providers would be expanded and grow in the future.

My goal to raise this fund until $50.000 to pay my graduate program a year only. I would be glad if I am sponsored to get full master degree or Ph.D. program. 

I would really appreciate your help and support. Thank you very much for your attention.


  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 9 mos
  • Meg Murphy  
    • $25 
    • 10 mos
  • Laura Swartzenberg 
    • $50 
    • 10 mos
  • Jennifer Swartzenberg 
    • $30 
    • 10 mos
  • Nicole Dergosits 
    • $15 
    • 11 mos


Cristophorus Subandi Budidharma 
West Henrietta, NY
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