As the English translation of its name implies, Project Sukacita is a true “project of joy.” Initiated in 2012 under the auspices of the Tanoto Foundation, the project brings together the young men and women who have received foundation scholarships and coordinates their participation in projects benefitting underserved communities. These Tanoto Scholars, who have studied at the National University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and at Singapore Management University, have chosen to volunteer their time to support early childhood learning and health and hygiene education in Kerinci, a regency in the Riau province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
The Tanoto Foundation was established as a means for Indonesian entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto and his family to assist people living in the communities in which they do business. The foundation has worked to build infrastructure in Indonesia and China, fund a wide range of teacher training programs and professional skills workshops, and provide university scholarships to talented young people who lack the financial resources to pursue higher education. Through sponsorship of the three years of Sukacita projects, the foundation has taken further steps toward its goal of relieving poverty in Indonesia and helping the country move forward with a better-educated citizenry.
Plans for this year’s Sukacita III efforts involve Tanoto Scholars reaching out to four previously unvisited childcare centers in Kerinci. They will bring donated books, toys, and learning activities to the children, and offer continuing education to caregivers, many of whom are dedicated and enthusiastic but lack formalized training in child development and curriculum planning. The Scholars will also teach math and English to both children and caregivers, and will provide lessons in basic self-care, such as teeth-brushing, hand-washing, and other sanitary practices.
The Tanoto Scholars will also decorate the daycare centers with bright, colorful murals, including simple English words that speak of core human values. They hope that in this way they will continue to have a positive impact on the children’s lives long after the project is finished.