Arlin’s Journey to Become a Doctor

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By Candra Dethan, ChildFund Indonesia
Posted on 12/22/2016
Arlin

Arlin is a new doctor on one of Indonesia's poorest and most remote islands, after receiving an Akibene scholarship through ChildFund.

Arlin, a 24-year-old woman from a remote island in Indonesia, just finished her studies to become a doctor. She's one of 159 recipients of the Akibene Scholarship Fund, started in 2015 by ChildFund donors John and Marie Bennett, to help young Indonesian men and women to complete their educations. Before entering medical school, Arlin participated in ChildFund's programs to advocate for children's rights.

Here is Arlin's story, in her own words.

I come from a middle-income family, and medical school is incredibly expensive everywhere, including in Kupang. To finance this kind of education is not something we could afford. I have two sisters and three brothers. You can imagine that we have a full house, with kids crowding every space. My mom and dad are amazing people. They put all of us through school. At first, it was very difficult for them to imagine how I would make it to medical school. They hadn't had the slightest idea how to pay for it. Yet they were persistent that I had to proceed and become a physician.

The first year was the toughest. It was a difficult time for my family and me, as the enrollment fee was through the roof — not to mention the expensive books, clinical practice fees and also my living costs. In the beginning of my studies, I had no textbooks at all. I relied on the class materials my lecturers gave me, and I looked up manuals on the internet. I was in deep trouble.

I was relieved when I received the Akibene scholarship through ChildFund. I could finally own textbooks. These books have guided me through my medical school years, helping me with my papers and modules. I also could get my first stethoscope. It was mandatory to have a stethoscope in the first year of our practice. I couldn't have afforded one had I not received the scholarship. I will use it until the end of my studies and beyond. It is still with me now. Thank you to my scholarship sponsors for giving me my first stethoscope. I will remember you whenever I use my stethoscope.

My thesis analyzes the cases of worm disease in children, and my first clinical rotation was in pediatrics. I want to become a pediatrician. I love children. I feel that pediatrics is the world where I will do the most good.

I am waiting for my final medical exam results now. I have spent the last six years of my life on this journey, and this moment will determine whether I will get to say the doctor's oath. I want to help people be healthy and have a good quality of life.

Arlin passed her final exam and is a practicing medical doctor in Sumba, her home island. She now treats patients at a public health center.