Dede Supriyanto is a dreamer on a mission: Be kind and spread the kindness

Working in special education in Indonesia, Dede witnessed a myriad of children who needed help—and those who did their best to provide it. These people became his role models and set him on a journey to improve the educational opportunities of children living with disability.

As his favourite saying goes: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. For Dede, this step was submitting his application for an Australia Award Scholarship. He’d heard of the scholarship from co-workers—alumni of the Australia Awards. With their exaltation of student life in Australia, and the alluring generosity of the scholarship, Dede was determined to succeed—and in 2015, he did.

Stepping into a Master of Education (Special Education and Teaching) at Flinders’ University, was an invaluable experience for Dede. Beyond the beauty of the campus, the quality of its resources, or the plentiful and varied learning opportunities, Dede developed his professional identity at Flinders—learning essential self-management skills and how to network with peers and leaders.  

The support of the Australia Awards did not end when Dede graduated with his master’s degree. Dede’s next steps took him to the United States of America, where he studied a Diploma of Educating/Teaching of Individuals with Multiple Disabilities at Perkin’s School for the Blind. Children with multiple disabilities are often left behind by their education systems—their potential underestimated and un-nurtured. This, Dede decided, was the change he needed to make.

With the support of Perkin’s International and the Australia Awards Alumni Grant Scheme, Dede founded Guru Sahabat Keluarga meaning Teacher Friends Family—an apt name for a community of practice that focuses on the partnership between teachers and parents in the education of children living with multiple disabilities.

Dede is now a teacher trainer in Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture, where he specialises in inclusive education, teacher-parent partnerships, and multiple disabilities. By developing a program model for children with multiple disabilities in schools in Jakarta, sharing his knowledge with other special educators and involving parents in the creation of their child’s curriculum, Dede has created opportunities for these children to exceed expectations, realise their true potential and lead meaningful lives.

With the driving force of his life mission, Dede Supriyanto has taken kindness to a new level and spread it with every step of his journey, and, as he continues on his path to success, he’ll spread it further still.

To those thinking of applying for an Australia Award Scholarship, Dede has this to say:

 “[The] scholarship is like a lead on your 1000 miles, so it will lead to achieving your dream.”

And to the new awardees of 2023:

“Congratulations…This is your once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Australia Awards Alumni Dede is a teacher trainer at Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture, specialising in inclusive education in Indonesia.