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In Indonesia, Australia Awards graduate Netty Muharni is working to improve the lives of women in Aceh. Netty struggled after the tsunami hit Aceh in 2004, but once she resolved to move forward, she started to do her best to help people that were less fortunate and had suffered more than she had.

“I was involved in rehabilitation and reconstruction programs, formally and informally,” she said.

“There were so many challenges on the ground. I thought that pursuing a higher degree might help me contribute better”.

Netty, completed her Master of Urban and Regional Planning at Curtin University of Technology in 2007 and was honoured with two academic awards while studying in Australia. She is now Head of the Promotion Division, at the Aceh Investment Coordinating Board. Netty is also General Secretary of the National Craft Council of Aceh Province, a not-for-profit organisation where she volunteers her time. Through this role Netty works to empower and improve women’s economic well-being.

Netty says “l feel it is meaningful to help craftsmen and women to develop their businesses. Most craft is made by communities in villages, with limited access to knowledge and information. We need to improve their skills, knowledge and income so they will have better quality of life.”