Yayasan Dian Desa (YDD), Yogyakarta and Bali, Indonesia
Education: University of Edinburgh
Reason for Joining VIA: My name is Maggie, from Maine, and I cannot wait to get started as a VIA fellow! I decided to join VIA to expand on my experience with international NGO work. I studied International Relations at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and am specifically interested in environmental policy and sustainable development. After reading up on and chatting with alumni about VIA's fabulous reputation and support network, I was hooked! I am incredibly excited to be taking up the post at YDD in Indonesia. The organization's focus on appropriate technology for community development is ideally suited to my interests and past experience. Since graduating from Edinburgh, I have been interning with a NGO in Peru that concentrates its work around the concept of technology justice.
Working in their program for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, I have gained a more practical understanding of the challenges of ensuring access to contextually relevant, appropriate technology in order to address today's more pressing community development concerns. I also gained relevant experience through posts with the Network of International Development Organizations in Scotland, Save the Children, Beltane Public Engagement Network, as organizer of TEDx conferences and international development themed events, as well as during my time teaching English in both Paraguay and Thailand.
Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., International Relations
Reason for Joining VIA: When I read VIA's mission statement and learned about what their volunteers do abroad, I felt a strong desire to participate. I was looking for an established program where I can put my college degree towards helping others and experience living in a third world country. VIA was also extremely attractive to me because of the variety of tracks I can pursue in researching or participating in. Southeast Asia is a developing at a high rate and my interest is in economic as well as sustainable development.
The fellow's main responsibilities are to develop and/or translate reports into English as well as provide English courses to the organization's staff.
Dian Desa, which means "light of the village", was founded in 1972 to spread the use of appropriate technology and improve living conditions in rural Indonesia. Dian Desa introduces new ideas to communities, which are then refined and spread by villagers themselves, and is active in many areas including clean drinking water and small-scale industry.
Fellows are usually posted in Yogyakarta, however, some fellows occasionally are posted to Bali. Yogyakarta (Yogya) is a province located in Central Java that includes Yogyakarta City as well as rural areas. Yogya is one of two traditional Javanese cultural centers along with nearby Surakarta. Yogya functions as a center of tradition, art, music, and tourism. It is a university town with many active non-governmental groups and lively cultural events.