Women. Power. Peace.

Georgia WAND Says Farewell to Visiting Fall Fellow, Ningsih Kamondo

14956369_10210445753765436_2654401324921260960_nGeorgia WAND Says Farewell to Visiting Fall Fellow, Ningsih Kamondo

For the past month, Georgia WAND has been hosting a fellow from Indonesia, Suwarti Ningsih Kamondo, as part of the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) program. Ningsih works for the Sikola Mombine Institute as the Economic and Fundraising Director. Sikola Mombine "School for Women" is an alternative education program for women in Indonesia who have limited access to education. They provide thematic learning and give women the tools to become leaders in their villages and encourage them to participate in political issues within the village. Their goal is to empower women to become social change actors through political participation and leadership.

Ningsih's shares her experience with Georgia WAND, including how she's applied her skills to our work and what she's bringing back to support her work in Indonesia:

I learned many things during my fellowship with Georgia WAND. First, I learned about leadership from my mentor Becky Rafter. As a strong, smart, and experienced leader, Becky was an excellent mentor. She encouraged me grow as a leader because of her attentiveness and support. My experience working with her was great. She gave me the opportunity to work with her and help her to perform tasks such as preparing financial reports, re-checking donor's lists, making a draft job description for new staff, and discussing important issues with one of Georgia WAND's board members. It was the first time I have ever performed some of these tasks. I am really appreciative that Becky trusted me to perform the work even with my limited experience. Becky and I also discussed my own work and proposal idea. Through her attentive listening and input, these conversations were very helpful.

The second major thing I learned was about environmental issues and in particular nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. I have previously heard of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, but I did not know that there is a women's movement, Georgia WAND, who is committed to fighting nuclear weapons and energy because of the associated struggles and issues with it. During my fellowship I learned that Georgia has a nuclear electrical generating plant and a weapon nuclear plant at the South Carolina and Georgia border. These plants have negative impacts for the environment and people in the area. The surrounding environment has been contaminated from nuclear radiation and nuclear waste. Women are much more likely to get cancer than men, and girls are twice as likely as boys to get cancer from the same radiation exposure. Georgia WAND, as a women's movement, takes action against these problems. They campaign against federal funding and the budget that goes towards the Pentagon. Instead they assist the women in the community who are concerned and impacted by the nuclear plant and other social problems.

I do my own work with social problems in Indonesia, but it differs from Georgia in that we are not focused on environmental issues or nuclear weapons and energy. From my experience with Georgia WAND and learning about nuclear issues, I am writing an article on my experience and the impact that nuclear weapons and energy has on the future. This is part of my effort to share with my own community in Indonesia about my perspective and Georgia WAND's fight against nuclear issues. I am so glad to have been at Georgia WAND and to have been accepted like a sister while at the organization. I love the acceptance I received and being able to share ideas. I want to sincerely thank Becky Rafter who was willing to be my fellowship mentor. I am really appreciative of her hard work and kind heart. I am so thankful for Georgia WAND who has provided me with this great learning opportunity.

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