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Meet the Indonesian girls achieving great things in Australia

Ameera Zandra Chairullah
Ameera Zandra Chairullah has been practicing karate since she was at the fourth grade

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The United Nations International Day of the Girl Child highlights the achievements of young women around the world, inspiring them to keep being active and play important roles to make the world a better place for everyone.

Meet three Indonesian girls calling Australia home, and read their own personal stories of achievement while living in a new country.

Ameera Zandra Chairullah, 13, Queensland

Chairullah relocated to Australia in September 2015 with her parents, who moved here to compete their PhDs.

This year Chairullah won the National Shotokan League, Queensland Championship Round 1 for the individual kata age group in the 12 to 13-year-old category.

But it was never the intention of her parents when they asked her if she wanted to start learning karate.

"Initially, my husband and I thought 'our children need to be able to protect themselves', so we [channelled] them by sending them to karate club for purely self-defence," Chairullah's mother Deti Kusmalawati says.

Chairullah, who has been practicing karate since she was at the fourth grade in Jakarta, says girls are sometimes treated poorly in comparison to boys, so female empowerment is important.

"It is important because it can help girls that experience bullying and such to go through it easier," she says.

If she had a superpower, she says it would be leadership.

Wafa Rodhiyya, 14, Victoria

Rodhiyya was born in Jakarta and moved to Melbourne with her parents almost nine years ago.

Wafa Rodhiyya.
Wafa Rodhiyya wants to help disadvantaged girls in Indonesia in the future.

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As a primary school student in Australia, she was a house captain, a peer mediator, and received an award for spelling and reading.

She went onto even bigger and better things in high school, joining a science competition, winning a spelling bee championship, receiving an academic achievement award, and making the final of Berthe Mouchette French competition.

"I like getting involved in things and being active in different part of school," she says.

"I like getting to know people better and getting to improve my skills, because I get to learn more skills and become a better person and improve my own qualities."

Rodhiyya went back to Jakarta two years ago for holiday, and is now inspired to do something for disadvantaged girls in Indonesia in the future.

Kannya Nadila Siregar, 17, Northern Territory

Siregar has been actively involved in cultural events, including dancing various Indonesian dances, since she moved to Darwin more than two years ago.

Kannya Nadila Siregar
Kannya Nadila Siregar says she is proud to be Indonesian

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"Darwin is so close to Bali, many people have been there and already knew about Balinese culture. I love Balinese culture, but I also want to show people that Indonesia is not just Bali," Siregar says.

As a winner of the International Student of The Year in the Northern Territory, she says her cultural mission is feasible if she becomes a diplomat just like her father, rather than just a dancer or artist.

"I want to show the world that Indonesia is my country, I'm proud to be an Indonesian, and I want to be [one of] those people who preserve their cultural heritage and identities," she says.

Siregar feels girls are still experiencing gender discrimination, and boys are still considered more powerful than girls.

"We can show our power to the world not only by our actions, but our political actions."

She hopes more females from backgrounds like hers get involved in politics and leadership in the future.

This article is also available in Indonesian.

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