Two female students from West Papua managed to put their name in history. Vanda Korisano and Martha Itaar became the first officers in two of Indonesia’s top airlines.
Both are recipients of scholarships from the Special Autonomy fund of the Papua and West Papua Province who studied at Nelson Aviation College, New Zealand, since 2014. There are around 150 students from Papua and West Papua who received the scholarship and study abroad.
“Vanda was accepted as a pilot at Garuda Indonesia, while Martha was accepted at Citilink,” said Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand Tantowi Yahya in a written statement on Wednesday (31/7).
Meanwhile, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe in his statement on the sidelines of attending the 1st Pacific Exposition in Auckland on July 14, stressed that the main task of Papuan students and students abroad is to study. He appealed to them not to be affected by negativity.
“You are not obliged to go back to Papua after you finish college. If you want to work here or in Australia or anywhere else, please. Later in Papua we will be proud to hear that there are Papuans working in a big company,” Enembe said.
The success of this Papuan student made Marveys Ayomi, a teacher and mentor at the International Pacific University (IPU) of New Zealand proud. He also thanked Ambassador Tantowi and the ranks at the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington for their efforts in helping and paying attention to Papuan students as long as they studied in New Zealand.
The Indonesian Embassy in every activity such as seminars, sports and culture always involves Indonesian students and students, including those from Papua. Students and students are involved in the Pacific Exposition 2019 which was held in Auckland on 11-14 July.
Garuda Indonesia President Director Ari Askhara expressed his pride in being able to recruit the best Papuan women. This proves that anyone can become a pilot.
According to Ari, to be part of the cockpit of the Garuda Indonesia Group crew, they must pass high qualification standards and a long process. Ari hopes that the steps made by Vanda and Marta can be a towing locomotive for other Papuan sons / daughters at Garuda Indonesia.
Vanda and Marta, who arrived in New Zealand in 2014, once awarded as the best pilots throughout the year for international students (Best all round flying performance for international students). They got certification for Private Pilot License, Commercial Pilot License and Multi Engine Instrument Rating.
After graduating from New Zealand in early January 2018, they decided to continue their education at the Ganesha Flight School, Jakarta. Here, they get Indonesian DGCA Pilot License certification. In June 2019, their hard work and struggle finally paid off, their dream of becoming a pilot for Indonesia’s biggest airline, Garuda Indonesia Group, was fulfilled.