If life give you lemons make lemonade

Inna Hudaya was born pushing herself in everything she does in life – always looking for the next challenge and life changing experience.  A feminist, social-entrepreneur, advocates and world traveler, she has checked off more items on her bucket list than most people will in their lifetime. Inna devotes her time as a mentor for young people and committed to building communities to support women with unwanted pregnancy. Inna is an avid traveler and adventurer; she has visited 28 countries, a quirky alone, love walking around anonymously and wondering herself as James Bond during her travel. However, she marks activism thru Samsara as her most epic adventure yet.

Inna Hudaya was born in and grew up in a fundamentalist family in Tasikmalaya, West Java. She spent her early education in a religious and homogenous environment. While she believes that religion should bring her peace and love, she witnessing that people around her mistreated women and shows hatred toward others. She always questioning about pluralism and her freedom, because everything which has been happening in the family, was her family decision, including her education.

Inna Hudaya walked out of her hometown with one thought in her mind: How can I never go back? How not to end up extremist? How can I make a difference? In 2000, few days after her final exam, she jumped on a bus for Yogyakarta.

Inna’s career began in 2007 when she was 26, four years after her abortion. She had an unplanned pregnancy in the age of 22 when she studied in medical school. As a religious girl, sharing and being open is not her option. She knew that instead of getting the support she needed, she will face stigma and discrimination from her family and environment. She decided to have an abortion. Unfortunately, she couldn’t afford to have an abortion at the clinic. Her friends took her to have a clandestine abortion. Her abortion performed by an old woman in a hotel room, no counseling provided for her, no pain killer. It was very painful to her that made her feel like to die. She felt alone since her boyfriend took off afterward. She had post-psychosomatic trauma after the abortion, that forced her to give up her study and focus on recovering by seeing psychiatry and having the treatment that made her broke and had a debt. She could not find a way out but to finally talk to her family in 2007. Beyond her expectation, her mother can accept her condition. However, her brother could not accept her and even saying that her blood is halal to kill. She never had communication to her brother anymore.

However, after being open and got her mother support, Inna found her strength back. At the same time, she read an article that there are 2 million abortions a year in Indonesia. She was wondering what if 50% of them had a trauma just like she had before, the feeling to give up and die. Those women did not have a place to share the feeling. She started to write her story on her blog. She talked about her process of recovery of being guilt and feeling worthless on her blog. She got lots of reactions from women who experience the same thing. Then she did research that the feeling, the trauma scientifically approved to be normal. Her story finally published as a book in 2008.

She understood the power of the technology and internet to deliver short forms and informative content for abortion counseling, in 2007 Inna joined forces with Grace Susetyo and Kiki Nikijuluw to launch a hotline for post-abortion counseling program, what began as an experiment to see if one person could use the information and counseling service to help themselves recover from their trauma, fueled only by social media, propelled the creation of Samsara, a non-profit organization dedicated for all women with unwanted pregnancy to ensure they will receive counselling and support they needed.

Today she develop more programs, not only to deliver pre and post abortion counseling but also educational and advocacy program for sexuality and reproductive health and rights. Samsara hotline received 200-300 calls per month from women all over Indonesia and she represent Samsara in Regional and International network to share best practice and strategy, and most of all she believe that the aim of all this hard work is to give back the power in the hand of women. Reclaim the rights of women’s body autonomy.

As the Director of Samsara, her leadership style underline the importance of empowerment and meaningful participation  of young people. She challenge everyone to join forces with Samsara as a life-changing opportunities. This is a true “experimental learning process” for all the team, member, and beneficiaries of Samsara.