Rusidah Badawi, an Indonesian photographer who was born without forearms, is to be one of the recipients of the 22nd Fervent Global Love of Lives Award at a ceremony in Taichung on Tuesday next week in recognition of her achievements and contributions to society.
The annual ceremony is organized by the Chou Ta-kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation to honor people from around the world nominated for their bravery in facing difficulties, making sacrifices, overcoming limitations or making a contribution to society.
The 51-year-old said that she often tells people: “You need to strive 99 percent on your own to succeed and rely 1 percent on others.”
Photo courtesy of the Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation via CNA
Born in 1968 in a remote village in Central Java’s Purworejo District, Badawi did not attend school until she was nearly nine years old.
When graduating from elementary school in 1983, Badawi finished 10th out of 120 students to gain admission to Bayan Purworejo Junior High School.
Transferring to Purworejo National Junior High School in 1984, she had to live at the Purworejo Wiloso Muda Mudi Orphanage for the next five years. She said that she made many friends there.
After high school, she enrolled in a photography course at the vocational school of the Soeharso Surakarta Rehabilitation Center in Solo, because she saw how a friend with only one hand made a living as a freelance photographer.
Hoping to earn some money, in 1991 she enrolled in a one-year photography training course and returned home with a certificate, Badawi said.
Working in Purworejo as a freelance photographer, Badawi used a modified camera with a screw on the shutter button to make it easier for her to operate.
“The screw was on the advice from my teacher at the time so I could stabilize the shot, so the photo would not come out blurry,” Badawi said, adding that she did not use it after switching to a digital camera.
Badawi was frequently invited to take photographs at weddings or other events and gained popularity across Indonesia.
Award founder Chou Chin-hua (周進華) said that Badawi’s photography has set an example for other people with disabilities, motivating them to not give up, but have the courage to learn a skill.
“Because of her work, we have invited her to speak to people in Taiwan who are going through difficult times, such as medical treatment, to motivate them to overcome hurdles,” Chou said.
The award was established by the parents of Chou Ta-kuan (周大觀), who died of cancer in 1997, to commemorate their son’s determination and love for life, while encouraging people to cherish and respect life.
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