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Maternal Mental Health Day 2023: Indonesian initiatives for emotional wellbeing

On this World Maternal Mental Health Day 2023, we want to highlight the work of Nurul Inayah (Naya), an Indonesian activist and INSPIRASI participant who has championed the cause of mothers’ emotional wellbeing in Makassar, Indonesia.

The topic of maternal mental health is considered taboo in Indonesia and limited space for discussion has contributed to a lack of awareness about the emotional wellbeing of mothers after childbirth. Determined to change this, Nurul Inayah, a participant in the UnionAID INSPIRASI Indonesia Young Leaders Programme and manager of Kala Teater, set out to initiate an open conversation about postpartum issues.

Naya’s  innovative action project, developed through her participation in INSPIRASI, combined a public campaign with a theatre performance centred on the theme of postpartum depression. Her project not only raised awareness about the issue in Makassar but also captured the attention of the Indonesian Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, which committed to supporting a tour of the performance into early 2023.

The project’s impact was evident in feedback received from both audience members and journalists. As one reviewer commented “The performance by Kala Teater brought to light the issue of postpartum depression and provided a safe space for mums who experienced this issue. It touched all eyes seeing it, both men and women.”

On this World Maternal Mental Health Day, we celebrate the achievements of activists like Naya and the Kala Teater team, who are breaking down barriers and encouraging open conversations about maternal mental health. Their work serves as an inspiration to others and is a testament to the power of creative expression in raising awareness and bringing about change.

Naya is now completing the second part of the INSPIRASI programme in Auckland, where she is meeting with New Zealand based creatives and fellow activists to learn more about social innovation and advocacy through the arts.

UnionAID supports democratic, worker-led organisations that help empower working people to improve their work and livelihoods through collective action.

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