Sukanto Tanoto believes in empowering current scholarship beneficiaries to have a chance to contribute to the society and understand the value of philanthropy.
Positive impact should not be limited to the scholarship beneficiaries only, but instead, they should be the springboard to future ripples of philanthropic acts by the foundation. This is the reason why Tanoto Foundation Scholars are encouraged to participate in philanthropic activities organised by the companies under RGE (founded by Sukanto Tanoto).
Aware of the importance of corporate social responsibility, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), a subsidiary of Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), has not only practice sustainable forestry which plays a key role in Indonesia’s economic development, but also looks into the welfare of the staffs by creating employment, alleviating poverty and building various amenities that are in close proximity to the staffs. Project Sukacita is one of those projects which targets to further improve the standard of living and the quality of life of the residents in Kerinci, where APRIL heavily operates in.
In 2012, Tanoto Foundation organised a pilot community service project called Project Sukacita I which involved many scholars from Singapore Management University and Nanyang Technological University. The project was a huge success and received many good feedbacks from the local communities. As a result, the Foundation organised another Project Sukacita II in 2013 but with a greater scope. This time round, the Singapore Scholars team comprises of medical students from Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and students from Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University The medical team and the main team took a two-pronged focus: Medical (health and hygiene) and Education (library construction, interactions with children and book drive).
Many scholars who took part in the programme learnt important values and one of them, Faith Leong from NUS shares her experiences:
“I am very thankful that I was given the privilege to attend this overseas community involvement trip to Kerinci, Indonesia where I could do my part as a medical student to aid the local population of the Kerinci town. Having been a Tanoto scholar for the last 3 years, I had never known much about the Tanoto family’s business or philanthropic efforts. This trip was indeed an eye opener, and I was very fascinated by the organization and structure of the town, as well as the constant efforts of the Tanoto Foundation to reach out to its local population through education. I am sure that many of the locals have benefitted immensely from these longstanding and continuous outreach programs, just as I have. Although the duration we were there was short, we were able to assess the development of quite a number of children from 2 different schools. It was quite a challenge, organizing our available manpower in the most efficient way possible to get the job done. This was made even more difficult by the little or zero Bahasa that most of us were able to speak! Nonetheless, we eventually worked out a system and successfully completed what we set out to do. Although most of us were fatigued by the trip and were fast asleep even before our flight back to Singapore, it is undeniable that we had learnt many things from this trip and forged new friendships along the way.”
– Faith Leong, NUS, Year 4.