The Observatory

Acut's visit as part of the Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program

Acut Risya Firlana

On my first day of work at Vision 2020 Australia I was 45 minutes late because of a delayed train and traffic jams - welcome to Melbourne! At 9.45am I finally reached the office on Queen St to meet my supervisor, Courtney Saville, who introduced me to all of the staff and provided an overview of Vision 2020 Australia and the different work it does. Because I was working with Courtney, my focus was on the global policy and programs that make up just some of Vision 2020 Australia’s work. This was interesting to me because, coming from Aceh, I have grown up in the presence of international non-governmental organisations, and a number of the Vision 2020 Australia Global Consortium member agencies are currently active in Indonesia.

As the weeks with Vision 2020 Australia were packed full with outings and activities, I will just mention a few here.

On Friday 26 October I went to the optometry practice of Andrew Harris for a discussion of examination services, equipment and different eye conditions. I was able to have my eyes photographed and was talked through the different parts of the eye and some indicators of unhealthy eyes.

May Ho, Program Manager for Vietnam at the Brien Holden Vision Institute, and I met on Tuesday October 30. May gave me some great insights into the international development sector, and also her personal journey to becoming Program Manager. It was a great opportunity to get some tips and trade secrets!

On the same day I went to the Department of Health to meet Senior Project Officer, Nutritionist, Division of Prevention and Population Health, Kelly Neville. I would like to say a big thank you to Dee Tumino, Vision Initiative Manager at Vision 2020 Australia, for organising this! I have been interested in nutritional health for a long time and this meeting was a great insight into nutritional issues facing Victorians. It was interesting to see some of the similarities and differences between Indonesia and Australia here too.

Belinda Cerritelli, National Advocacy Adviser at Vision 2020 Australia, worked with Courtney to organise for me a tour of the Department of Optometry and Vision Services, University of Melbourne, with PhD student Jason Charng. Jason introduced me to the Pre-Optometry Clinic and Eye Care Centre – it was great to see the facilities that Melbourne University has to offer.

Finally, Courtney organised for me to have a tour of the Royal Melbourne Hospital with Paige Collinson, who is a nurse in Ward 2 West Cardiothoracic Surgery. It was fantastic to be able to explore one of Victoria’s leading hospitals – it is the kind of insight I can take back with me to Indonesia.

Acut & Paige outside Royal Melbourne Hospital

Out the front of the Royal Melbourne Hospital before my tour with cardiothoracic nurse, Paige Collinson.

Acut gets her eyes check by Optometrist Andrew Harris

Optometrist Andrew Harris demonstrates for me the use of optometry equipment at his practice in North Melbourne.

Acut and Courtney

Here I am with Courtney Saville at the Australia Indonesia Youth Association (VIC) meet and greet night with AIYEP participants.

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About the Author

Acut Risya Firlana

Acut Risya Firlana from Aceh, Indonesia, blogs about her three week placement at Vision 2020 Australia as part of the Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP). Acut has recently completed a Bachelor of Medicine at the Syiah Kuala University in Aceh, Indonesia. The youngest of three children, Acut and her family live in the outer suburbs of Banda Aceh- one of the areas worst affected by the tsunami in December 2004. Acut has worked part time in an English language teaching organisation since 2010 where she teaches basic English to children in Grades 1 -4. Since 2008, Acut has volunteered in several NGOs in Banda Aceh, but her long term professional ambition is to be a doctor. Her areas of interest include the delivery of health services, research, nutrition, and health promotion and prevention. Read more by this author →

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