In October 2014, the RGE Group company Asia Symbol participated in a reading festival for elementary and middle school students in Rizhao, China. The event, which included the “Asia Symbol Trophy” award ceremony, was held under the auspices of the education department of the Rizhao Economic-Technological Development Area. As part of their mission to set international standards for positive corporate involvement in local communities, Asia Symbol and RGE Group CEO and founder Sukanto Tanoto are proud to support the event. The company’s paper mill in Rizhao, a city in China’s Shandong province, represents one of the world’s largest single pulp production lines.
The reading festival operates with the goal of increasing the students’ love of reading in general, and their comfort level with classical texts from the Chinese literary tradition in particular. One teacher from a local elementary school noted that students who previously might not have shown interest in reading have learned to take pride in gaining familiarity with classical works through participation in the festival. In this way, the festival, with Asia Symbol’s help, promotes time-honored ideals of Chinese education and culture.
Sukanto Tanoto, an Indonesian-born self-made entrepreneur whose family history is based in China, has cultivated a deep personal love of reading, as well as an appreciation for the role of education in shaping highly competent business leaders. Although Mr. Tanoto was obliged to end his own formal education while still in his teens, books, reading, and the adventure of lifelong self-education have played a pivotal role in his development as an individual, a businessman, and a philanthropist. Through the Tanoto Foundation, he and his family fund social welfare and education projects in Indonesia, China, and beyond. Included among the foundation’s efforts are scholarship programs for deserving college- and medical school-bound students.
Asia Symbol has helped improve learning in Rizhao through its “Realize Your Dreams” project, which has worked with hundreds of underprivileged students to create pathways to higher education and jobs. The company has additionally established an Education Quality Award to help hundreds more instructors and students. So far, Asia Symbol’s monetary contributions to social services and philanthropy in China have totaled some 90 million Chinese renminbi.