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Young Indonesian co-host a model of intergenerational leadership

November 11, 2019

In line with the 2019 World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly’s emphasis on intergenerational leadership, the co-host for Monday’s plenary sessions (November 11) was a 25-year-old woman from Jakarta, Indonesia whose skill in communicating to the younger generation outdoes that of just about any General Assembly delegate, regardless of age.

Abigail Limuria is coauthor (with Grace Kadiman) of Lalita, a book that presents a colorful two-page spread (including about 300 words of text plus original illustrations) of 51 inspiring Indonesian women.

Limuria and Kadiman, also an Indonesian native, were roommates at Biola University in Los Angeles, USA, where Limuria graduated with a major in media management and a minor in biblical studies. She then worked for the Jakarta government’s “smart city” project before leaving to work on the book for nearly two years.

The idea for the book emerged after Limuria and Kadiman perceived that young Indonesians, especially women, were unaware of female role models from their own country. “We asked our friends who their role models were and no one ever named an Indonesian woman,” she explained. “We started asking ourselves, ‘Is there no cool Indonesian woman?’”

That original inspiration grew into the 51 features on women from a wide range of fields, such as Indonesia’s first astronaut, a nuclear science expert who invented a new type of glass used in Jakarta’s streetlights, and a leader in alternative education for rural children.

Although the role models are all female, Limuria said the book is not aimed only at women. “We didn’t want to do just a female empowerment book,” she stated. “We wanted to raise up more role models for everyone.”

At the General Assembly’s Monday morning session, Limuria related the story of Faye Simanjuntak, already a well-known Indonesian human rights activist at age 17. As a nine-year-old girl, Faye was tearful when she first learned about the problem of child trafficking in Indonesia. Her mother told her, “Your tears are worth nothing unless they lead you to action.”

In 2013, at age 11, Faye took action, founding a nonprofit organization called Rumah Faye (Faye House) to support the rehabilitation of girls trafficked for prostitution. She was one of three finalists for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2017.

Limuria and Kadiman took an innovative approach to marketing. They started developing an Instagram community one year in advance, with three posts a day. Many of the featured role models and illustrators have joined them in promoting the book on social media. As a result, in just three months they have sold 3,000 copies.

Limuria, who attends the Grow Center GBI (Pentecostal) church in Jakarta, echoed the General Assembly’s emphasis on intergenerational learning. “Young people have plenty of creativity, but they still need guidance,” she said. “Raising up the young should not mean erasing the old.”

The hardcover book is reasonably priced at 150,000 Indonesian rupiah (about $11 USD). For information, go to Lalitaproject on Instagram.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @WEAGA2019 and use the hashtag #jakarta2019 to share your excitement!