RA Kartini

by ari from jakarta

Raden Ajeng Kartini was born on 21 April 1879 in Jepara. She was a leading feminist of women emancipation in Indonesia. Her father was an assistant for the district chief of the city. Her first dream was becoming like her mother, working hard for others. She went to a Dutch school but when she was 12 years old her father prohibited her from continuing her studies because of the tradition - a noble girl was not allowed to have a higher education, they had to be secluded.

Ibu Kartini was very concerned because of education in Indonesia especially for women. Because of her concerns, she found a school only for women in Indonesia.

She sometimes discussed the issues together with a Dutch couple, the Ovinks. They were amazed with Kartini's fluency in Dutch. Kartini had a book to read from Mrs. Ovink and started to correspond with people in the Netherlands. In her letter to her pen friends, Kartini always discussed feminist matters and revealed her dream of equality between men and women in Indonesia. Kartini insisted that she continue her studies although her father was against it. Finally Kartini wrote a letter to the Education and Culture Director, Mr. Abendanon, who sent her a very promising reply. Kartini married a regent and moved to Rembang in 1903 in Central Java. She wrote a book called "Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang" (Through Darkness to Light) which consists of the collection of her letters to her friends. She passed away in November 1904 while giving birth to her first son.

Every school from kindergarten to high school level celebrates Kartini Day by having a flag ceremony and singing the Ibu Kartini song. Kindergarten and elementary schools usually have special events like poem reading competitions, drawing competitions, modeling competitions (girls wear a costume like Ibu Kartini's, with kebaya and batik cloth. In Jepara there is a Kartini Museum which contains a collection of Kartini's personal belongings, including furniture from her house, several photos, letters written by her and other documents relating to her life.

Page created on 6/3/2006 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 6/3/2006 12:00:00 AM

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Related Links

Raden Ajeng Kartini
a film biography of the Javanese women's emancipationist and educator, Kartini, who founded schools for women in North Central Java at the end of the nineteenth century.
- Written and directed by Moscow trained Sjuman Djaya
Read another MY HERO story on RA Kartini
- by Meiliana from Surabaya
5th Annual White Ribbon Contest for Safe Motherhood - Pita Putih -The White Ribbon Alliance, Indonesia
The alliance focuses on establishing birth emergency preparedness. Awareness of safe motherhood is also raised on R.A. Kartini Day, (Kartini died as a result of childbirth.)
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