Dewi, Midwife of the Forest

In just a month, midwife Dewi Susandi has helped transformed the village of Beloyang Juoi.

Dewi, one of ASRI’s midwives | Photo: Mahardika Putra

A mother herself, Dewi understands first-hand the difficulty that comes with bringing a new life into the world. When she was pregnant with her daughter, she suffered from pre-eclampsia, high blood sugars, and a premature birth. Inspired by her daughter’s challenging delivery and the health issues she faced early in life, Dewi promised herself that she would work as a midwife in a remote village. She found ASRI’s job posting for midwives to go to villages around Bukit Baka Bukit Raya – a national park northwest of ASRI that’s very remote, where people were logging and poaching to afford healthcare and where maternal and infant mortality is high. After her training, Dewi and her daughter were placed in the remote village of Beloyang Juoi last month. In her first month of work, she has saved the life of a woman bleeding to death after childbirth, and organized an ingenious way to prevent malaria throughout the village. Every three days, all the women get together, turn on some music, and clean the village from one side to the other. They sweep up plastic, leaves, and anything else that could hold water for mosquitos to breed in. After they’re done, Dewi leads everyone in Zumba!

Even though Dewi’s job title is midwife, she is so much more. She has been able to address health conditions that have been untreated until now, including tuberculosis, and advocate for women’s health and safety with village leaders. As Dewi is able to improve health in the community and reduce maternal emergencies, it will relieve the pressure to go into the forest and cut down trees for money. Dewi is creating a healthier Beloyang Juoi in more ways than one.

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