Hendri Wijayatsih, Theologist and Master in Pastoral Studies. Now is working as a lecturer in Pastoral Care and Counseling at The Faculty of Theology, Duta Wacana Christian University. Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Occupation- career path: In 1995 Finished Bachelor in Theology at The Faculty of Theology, Duta Wacana Christian University. In 1997 was ordained as hospital chaplain in Misionary Hospital in East Java Christian Church, Indonesia. In 2000 – 2002 obtained master degree in Pastoral Studies at Radboud University (former Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen). The Netherlands

1.- What was your first connection with Mission 21 or Basel Mission?

From my father, I heard that I got a scholarship from Basel Mission since I was at elementary school. But honestly I knew more about Basel Mission more than 30 years after I got my first scholarship. In 2005 I was pointed as coordinator of Feminist Theology Center at our university and at that time our center had the first contact with Mission 21. Start from that year, our center had a joint program on eliminating victims of domestic violence with Mission 21. I feel like I was called back by my spiritual mother. My spiritual mother was nurtured me with many possibilities to study and build my career as reverend, now she called me to share my blessing and support her work on empowering marginalized women and children.

2.- What have been your contributions to the empowerment of women?

Through our Feminist Theology Center, we assisted M21 partners in Indonesia and Malaysia to start their work on eliminating domestic violence in the church and also in the community (2011-2014).

From 2012 until now, I assist M21 partner churches in Malaysia on Counseling for domestic violence survivor. From this assistance, I  have learned a lot  about how hard it is to start our care to domestic violence survivor. Therefore, in 2015 I got permission from our faculty to start a new compulsory class on Counseling for Domestic Violence Survivor.

Since  2016 I work as an Assistant Coordinator of Gender Justice Task Force for M21 Indonesia & Malaysia. Through this new role I have more possibilities to support M21 partners in building an equal relationship between women and men through gender justice awareness program. From October 2016, I work as a volunteer counselor of LGBT people in Yogyakarta.

3.- Why do you think the empowerment of women is important in the Faith Based Organizations?

First, because faith based organization live together with oppressed women and children. Therefore, the faith based organization has more access to hear the story of oppressed women and children because they share the same language and value. Second, the faith based organization in called to witness the kingdom of God by embracing the oppressed and marginalized person as the example of Jesus ministry. The third, oppression is a complex reality of human life. We need more strength to face it. As a faith based organization, we have many resources, people, spirit, facilities, networking, etc to help people with a holistic approach.