The Inspiring, Unsinkable Nyoman Juniarta

I Nyoman Juniarta, a 42-year-old Balinese man, today lives a very different life from the one he imagined in 2012 when he worked on a large luxury cruise ship sailing the Mediterranean.

On the fateful Friday night of 13 January 2012, Juniarta suffered life-long debilitating injuries while working as a steward onboard the Costa Concordia sailing off the Coast of Tuscany, Italy. When that ship grounded and sank, it was carrying 1,023 crew and 3,229 passengers, 32 of whom died. Francesco Shettino, the Captain of the Costa Concordia, was found to have acted in gross negligence of duty, causing a maritime accident, manslaughter, and ship abandonment. He was subsequently sentenced to sixteen years in prison.

Falling below deck when the ship capsized, Nyoman Juniarta fell 14 meters, resulting in severe fractures to both legs and a broken back that left the Balinese man permanently paralyzed.  

Nyoman Juniarta, known to his friends and social media followers as “Jigo,” spent an extended period undergoing intensive care and rehabilitation before being returned to Bali.

In the 11 years since the accident that left him paralyzed, Juniartha has become an activist for the disabled community in Bali, established businesses ranging from a clothing line to a cafe, and merchandised a range of “go-green” products. These companies have created employment opportunities for disabled people while providing an income to support Jigo and his wife.

Along the way, Jigo has become an increasingly self-proficient entrepreneur and employed technology to master a range of skills, including even learning how to drive a car,

Through his experience and perseverance, Juniarta has become a hero in the eyes of many disabled people across Indonesia. He explained that many disabled friends in Bali and the rest of Indonesia, from Sabang in North Sumatra to Merauke in Irian, have telephoned and asked him to tutor them, sharing his insights and ideas on assisting and advancing the disabled community. He has made videos to inspire, with many now emulating his actions. 

“From adversity to goodness and determination,” proclaims Jigo..

Juniarta is a leading spokesperson and champion nationwide in the fight to secure accessibility to roads, sidewalks, and buildings for disabled people. He said he hoped that holes in sidewalks could be repaired in Denpasar to facilitate use and access by people in wheelchairs.  

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