What do you do now?

I am in Unilever Future Leaders Program (Marketing) now, working in regional business development for Magnum & Paddle Pop.

What was your most memorable moment in Chapter W?

My most memorable moment in Chapter W is sitting together at Pulau Air Raja pier as a team under the stars - enjoying the serenity while sharing the joy of a successful first trip. We were very uncertain of how receptive the villagers were to a group of foreigners who came to their village to introduce a new technology, let alone paying for it! We put in much thought in every steps we made and were delighted to find out months of preparation paid off - all our lamps were sold out! This was the start of many more stories to come.

What did you learn from Chapter W?

Right at the spirit of Chapter W - we always believe that good is not enough. We constantly challenge ourselves to deliver more and better - not to stay ahead of competition, but because the poor deserve to be treated well.

ANGELA SUJADI /  B. Sc. in Economics and Psychology, Singapore Management University

What do you do now?

I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Global Security at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

What was your most memorable moment in Chapter W?

There was one time where my partner at the time, Lili, and I were craving for mangoes in Mbatakapidu Village, Sumba. We asked a woman passerby whether she knew of any mango trees around and she directed us to one house. We did not know who the host was, but we decided to visit to try our luck in asking for mangoes before heading back home. We ended up spending 2 hours talking about everything under the sun only to find out that his mangoes had all been picked and he had nothing left. I think the “God of Mangoes” punished us for not being sincere in our intentions.

What did you learn from Chapter W?

I got to know myself better. I used to take what I had for granted, not really being aware of my own strength and weakness. I only knew what I could and couldn't do after coming in. Working in Chapter W allowed me to have a hands-on experiences in various fields, including things I had avoided and never done before. This gave me a chance to discover things that I am simply comfortable with, good at, and even strong at. I am surprised with how much I can grow within only 8 months.

CUT INTAN AULIANISSA /

Masters in Global Security, University of Glasgow

What do you do now?

I am currently working as a Research Assistant in Singapore University of Technology and Design, doing some research on the intersection between the web, design, and architecture.

What was your most memorable moment in Chapter W?

It is more of the whole package of everything! In one of the earlier trips to Pulau Air Raja, watching the stars, talking about life with other fellow Chapter W members, carrying around the solar lamps at night, climbing the hills, watching the sunset, eating nice seafood, and of course, to see the contentment in simple daily life of the people there. Those are memorable moments.

What did you learn from Chapter W?

I guess what inspires me the most are the altruistic people of Chapter W! And all the energy to just start somewhere when there is a call - never despise small beginnings! Who could have thought our small effort to bring light to one village because we saw the need there, through the years has grown so much to impact so many women and villages? Chapter W’s motto was – Just do it;

When we make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen (Paulo Coelho).

VERINA CRISTIE / Masters in Digital Media Technology, Nanyang Technological University

What do you do now?

I have recently moved back to Jakarta and I am currently a Senior Product Manager in Traveloka, an online travel agency.

What was your most memorable moment in Chapter W?

My most memorable moment was when I went with the first batch of Ibu Rumah Terang trainees from Pulau Air Raja for an on-the-job sales training in a neighboring island. I could not describe how proud I was to see the Mothers of Light who started to showcase all the skills that they picked up from the previous in-class training sessions on how to perform a product demo, to answer queries from potential customers, or to explain repayment plans for the lamps. It's so amazing for me to how the women, some who had zero experience in sales and very limited educational background, could improve so much in such a short amount of time.

What did you learn from Chapter W?

One of the most important things I learnt from Chapter W is about persistence in pursuing one's ideals. During my stint with Chapter [W], I encountered a lot of situations where it seemed very obvious that a bunch of volunteers, mostly part-time, should have just aimed and settled for something less. Time was always limited , resources were scarce, and we did not always have the full picture on what we set out to do. However, I was so glad that I worked with people who would never back down and would keep pushing forward. I witnessed several times how we could achieve something that I thought was impossible by just stretching ourselves in pursuing what we believe is important.

ROCKY STEPHANUS /         M. B. A. in General Management, INSEAD

What do you do now?

I'm currently working as a HR professional in a school for special needs children in Singapore. Together with some friends, we teach English, Computer, Entrepreneurship, and organize some workshops or talks on certain topics e.g. financial literacy, life planning, etc. for Indonesian Domestic Helpers here. We hope that it can trigger them to explore their interests further and use their time wisely while they are in Singapore. Ultimately, we want them to have another option besides being a domestic helper.

What was your most memorable moment in Chapter W?

It's a lot! But among all it definitely was the time when we spent the nights talking to each others under the stars while enjoying the breezy wind on the jetty after a long exhausting day in the village. We were initially strangers who eventually became friends that you can talk about something beyond casual small talk. The friendships are still maintained until today. We don't meet as often as we did back then but every time we meet we always have a great time. We are still reminiscing the days in the village until today.

What did you learn from Chapter W]?

I think I can write a whole essay about this!

ERLINA SANTOSO / Bachelors in Business Management, Marketing & Psychology, Singapore Management University

What do you do now?

I  am now working as a Director at Indorelawan (www.indorelawan.org), the first online platform that connects NGOs and volunteers in Indonesia.

What was your most memorable moment in Chapter W?

Most memorable moment in Chapter W is being with all the Mothers of Light. We were pushing them to learn and even added some extra sessions. And yet they love us to the point that they feed us like we haven't eaten a month!

What did you learn from Chapter W?

In Chapter W, I learned that as a non-profit, we must not give things in a way that will make the beneficiaries take it for granted (in charity). It is very important to make them independent and make them able to fulfil their needs after we have completed the program.

MARSYA ANGGIA /  B. Sc. in Communication & Media studies, University of Indonesia

What do you do now?

I am working with UCP-Wheels for Humanity as Program Manager for Jamkesus Disabilitas in Yogyakarta.

What was your most memorable moment in Chapter W?

It is very difficult to pick one most memorable moment as every moment I spent in Chapter W both inside and outside the village is very important. May be I could say that knowing Bu Mi, the wife of village chief in Cate was a very important one that affected how I do my work until now. Bu Mi, despite spending most of her life in the remote village with limited access to information and resources, is a wonderfully smart and sharp woman who understands very well the issues in the village and how to approach them. Bu Mi reminded me that I or Chapter W or any other outside parties should not regard themselves as the “savior” of this community and think that our ideas are the best in addressing their issues. This way of thinking is what is wrong with most development works in the world.

What did you learn from Chapter W?

Working together with Bu Mi through Chapter W taught me that every community own some resources, it may not be material but it could be its people (in the case of Chapter W, the passionate and resourceful Ibu Rumah Terang), local wisdom, traditions, history, and before anything else, we should look into them first in our effort to address the challenges. From my experience in Chapter W I learn that for an intervention to be effective and sustainable, it should not feel unfamiliar to the community.

NOVIA AFDHILA /  M. Sc. in Public Health, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

What do you do now?

I am currently the Chief of Development at Koperasi Kasih Indonesia (KKI).

What was your most memorable moment in Chapter W?

My most memorable was when we sold all of the first 40 solar lamps in our pilot project in the Riau Islands! We had targeted only 5% early adopters of the solar lamp (out of 200). And also, sitting by the sea and watching the stars at Pulau Air Raja, Riau Islands :)

What did you learn from Chapter W?

In Chapter W, I learnt a high level of professionalism in doing social work and that it should not differ from working in the private sector. Plus, we learn to be flexible, to adjust our approach to suit situations on the ground.

SANDRA SURYA /  B. Sc. in Economics with second major in Finance, Singapore Management University

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

- Henry Stanley Haskins

A L U M N I

What do you do now?

I am now a Digital Marketer at Traveloka.

What was your most memorable moment in Chapter W?

My most memorable moment in Chapter W is the first major trip to Pulau Air Raja: the countless hours spent gazing at the night sky, the fresh seafood, and the hospitality of the villagers. The view of the night sky was great, it allowed us back then to clearly see the stars. We spent more than 1 week eating mostly freshly caught seafood. The villagers are surprisingly very supportive of our presence, I am still in contact with some of them.

What did you learn from Chapter W?

My participation in Chapter W has shaped me in a way that it gave me a first hand experience in dealing with the issue of inequality. Being born and raised in Aceh, the inequality of access to public service is a very prominent issue, as it led to more than 30 years of conflict. I used to believe that the lack of access to basic needs, such as water, foods, and energy, can only be addressed through large scale investment by the government. Chapter W provided me with the evidence to the contrary. Chapter W demonstrated that a group of committed and hard working students and professionals can contribute to lessen the gap of access to energy. In fact, my participation in Chapter W is one of the reasons why I decided to pursue a second degree in engineering rather staying in the science/academic track.

AUFAR KARI / M. Eng. in Chemical Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

What do you do now?

I'm a Staff Writer at Seven Days, an alt weekly in Vermont, U.S. I cover the diversity beat, focusing on the refugee and immigrant communities in Burlington.

What was your most memorable moment in Chapter W?

There was a blackout on our last night in Kampung Pasir Panjang. The village was covered in darkness and only a few houses  had the kiran lamps. That was when I realized the full extent of the importance of our project.

What did you learn from Chapter W?

Watching Fairoz, Gloria and Angela visit the villages on a regular basis, as well as receiving updates on their new ventures, shows how dedicated Chapter W founding members are.

KYMELA SARI / Masters in Journalism, Columbia University

Chapter W has had the amazing opportunity to work with a mix of volunteers, fellows and former staff who have made Chapter W what it is today. Here is a sneak peek into their journey with us:

What was your most memorable moment in Chapter W?

There are so many! From seeing my first ever shooting star while lying on the jetty of Pulau Air Raja, to organising a volleyball competition between three small villages to get the villagers to know us better. We lost terribly but it was so fun to get to know the villages.  

What did you learn from Chapter W?

One thing that will always stick with me is the importance of first class service that we as volunteers and team members deliver to the villagers and society, even if you are entering a community to do a social cause.

NUR SAFIAH ALIAS/ B.Soc.Sci (Hons) in Communications & New Media

What do you do now?

I am currently a Digital Marketing Manager with halalfoodhunt.com- it’s a startup connecting SMEs in the Halal F&B market to the consumers who are looking for halal food through digital marketing, food listings, and events. We are an all-women team because women are usually the ones who make the food decisions in the family!

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