For ten years, Sri Lestari stayed at home after a motorcycle accident left her paralysed from the chest down at the age of 23. She felt unhappy, unproductive and depressed. Then she got a motorcycle specially modified to allow her to ride in her wheelchair.
“When I got my modified motorcycle, my life changed,” says Sri Lestari the 39-year-old, who relished the freedom of being able to “go everywhere by myself” again after more than a decade of being stuck at home. But she’s not content to keep that freedom to herself. She wants others to see that this is possible for them, too.
So she took to the road, riding 1,212 kilometres over three weeks – from Indonesian capital Jakarta to popular holiday destination Bali, “to show that people with disabilities in Indonesia can live free, independent, productive and happy lives.”
“This trip would show people in Indonesia and around the world that having a disability doesn’t mean your life is over. Disabled people in Indonesia still have difficulty getting out of their houses, because they have no access to transport, especially public transportation,” she explains.
Sri Lestari Took to the Road Riding 1212 Kms in Three Weeks
Using her own story as an inspiration for others is what Sri Lestari does daily. “I spend my days visiting people with disabilities who just stay at home,” says Sri, who in 2009 joined United Cerebral Palsy, Wheels for Humanity as a social worker. “They are surprised that I can live independently, go everywhere by myself on my modified motorcycle and work a normal job. They are happy when they see me, because I am ‘diffable’ (differently-abled), and I am a woman and I can work. I really want to share my experience — how I can be independent and healthy as a ‘diffabled’ paraplegic.”
What most inspired us was Sri Lestari’s dream to be free – a dream she refused to let die during those ten years she was stuck at home.
Help Sri Lestari continue on her inspiring journey as a social worker by supporting the organization she works for, UCP Wheels for Humanity.
Congrats Sri Lestari on your amazing journey!
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*Combined sources/credit Huffingtonposts