In 2014, a public elementary school in the Labuhan Batu District of North Sumatra, SDN 115520 Pangkatan, received an award from education officials for its overall school cleanliness and tidy appearance. The school was the first winner at the sub-district level of the Clean and Healthy School Competition, thanks to a Tanoto Foundation program that provided training on building maintenance and cleanliness. The school’s principal was grateful to accept the award, and thanked the foundation not only for its training, but also for establishing a new supply of clean water, providing waste bins, and making improvements to toilet facilities.
Indonesian-born executive Sukanto Tanoto is among his country’s wealthiest men and most generous philanthropists. Although he was obliged to leave his formal schooling at age 17, he went on to become educated in a wide range of business and management subjects and in several languages. Because of his lifelong commitment to promoting the value of education, he and his family established the Tanoto Foundation to provide scholarships and social welfare programs to Indonesia’s numerous under-resourced communities.
The Tanoto Foundation’s work has encompassed significant improvements to Indonesia’s poorly maintained educational infrastructure, as well as funding that helps individual schools improve the school cleanliness and quality of classroom instruction through extensive teacher trainings. The foundation also provides programs that teach proper health and hygiene habits to schoolchildren, who then take the knowledge home to share with their families, creating healthier and stronger communities.
Before the Tanoto Foundation stepped forward with assistance, the staff of SDN 115520 had to cope with inadequate bathroom facilities and a lack of facilities for proper refuse disposal. However, thanks to its recent progress under the foundation’s mentorship, the school achieved the highest scores among its peers in the competition for the cleanliness and attractiveness of its indoor and outdoor environments.