Fellowship Conversations: A Message from Ruby Saha '14
Dear Shansi Friends and Supporters,
I'm honored to introduce the second week of Shansi's Annual Giving Campaign. As a former Fellow to Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta and now a member of Shansi's Board of Trustees, I'm proud of how Shansi is demonstrating its commitment to the Fellowship experience by launching the Fellows Support Fund.
Any former Fellow can attest to the challenges of adapting to a new environment, finding connection through a foreign language, and navigating cultural differences. But only our most recent Fellows have done it through a Zoom window.
It’s impossible for me to imagine the loss of that immersive in-country experience. I was born in Indonesia, and for me, the opportunity Shansi gave me to regain the language I had lost, to learn about indigenous textile traditions like batik and ikat, to form lifelong friendships through the exchange of language and food; in short, living in Indonesia as a Fellow has shaped who I am today.
And yet, our 2020 and 2021 Fellows have demonstrated beautifully that connecting across borders—whether cultural, geographic, or linguistic—has always been at the heart of the Shansi experience. I’m humbled and inspired by stories like that of Kara Nepomuceno, our 2020 Jogja Fellow, whose passion for dance not only helped her build community with her students, but also revealed deep cultural links between Filipino and Indonesian dance traditions. Kara’s ability to create meaningful cross-cultural connections both in Jogja and at home in San Diego truly illustrates the value of Shansi’s mission and the incredible talent and resilience of our Fellows. We recently got together on Zoom to share our experiences as Fellows; I learned so much from Kara about the ways our Fellowship experiences were both different and yet similar, too. Watch our recorded conversation here.
The support of the Shansi community is especially important this year. Your gift to the Fellows Support Fund empowers Fellows like Kara to experience the richness of engaging with local communities, artisans, colleagues, and friends despite the disruption of the pandemic. And, as mentioned in Gavin and Ted’s previous message, the Fellows Support Fund will also offer Fellows continued professional development opportunities and robust mental health support.
If you have already made a gift after receiving Gavin and Ted’s email, thank you! And if not, donate online at www.shansi.org/donate or send a check to Oberlin Shansi, 50 North Professor Street, Oberlin, OH 44074. You can direct your gift to the Fellows Support Fund by indicating this in the online “note” or on your check.
Thank you for your support!
Ruby Saha ‘14
UGM Fellow, 2014-16
Oberlin Shansi Trustee