The Tanoto Foundation works to advance the well-being of local communities in underserved areas of Indonesia and other countries. The foundation, established by entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto and his wife, fosters infrastructure-building projects, early childhood education, university scholarships, and more. Mr. Tanoto heads the $15 billion RGE Group of corporations involved in natural resources manufacturing and energy production. Through the foundation, his family is able to share their success and help Indonesia alleviate poverty and prepare its citizens to compete in the 21st century global economy.
Among the Tanoto Foundation’s proudest efforts is a program that helps its scholarship recipients improve their own communities. Starting in 2012, Tanoto Scholars undertook Project Sukacita, which means “project of joy.” Sukacita concentrates on working directly with people living in the Kerinci Regency, Riau Province, on the island of Sumatra. RGE Group companies Asian Agri and Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) operate in and around Kerinci, and have worked to improve the lives of their own employees and the general community.
Now in its third year, Project Sukacita aims to bring the Tanoto Scholars’ enthusiasm and knowledge to the task of enhancing four childcare centers serving RGE workers’ children in Kerinci. The Scholars seek to improve health and hygiene, as well as increase educational and interactive learning opportunities, for the community’s youngest members.
During the project’s first and second years, the Tanoto Scholars assisted a senior high school and several childcare centers in Kerinci. Since the Scholars’ own academic work has focused on medicine and higher-level business skills, they were able to assist with developmental screenings and other health care services, and with the improvement of existing infrastructure.
In its third year, Project Sukacita will build on this work even further. The Scholars’ goals focus on collecting toys, books, and other educational materials to help the children develop a lasting love of learning. The Scholars also plan to teach math and English skills to children and caregivers alike, and to work with adults to make sure that the community has vital knowledge on topics such as first aid and general child health and development.