A small rural school in Jambi Province, Indonesia, has won two district-wide competitions: one for the quality of its new library, the other for its achievements in promoting a healthy environment for its students and community. Thanks to support from the Tanoto Foundation, SDN 173/V Tanjung Benanak, located in the Merlung Sub-District, won the Tanjung Jabung Barat District’s Library Competition in 2014. The school’s first-prize recognition in its district’s Healthy School Competition brought further pride that same year.
With the additional assistance of the local community, the school’s staff used Tanoto Foundation grant funding and library management training to build a “tiny library” based around a core collection of donated books. The success of the project, and the response from members of the community, encouraged principal Mutia Lafrida and school staff to move forward with confidence into regional library- and health-related competitions.
In addition, through the Tanoto Foundation’s funding of sanitation initiatives such as a hand-washing campaign and the purchase of hand-washing basins, waste bins, and improved toilets, SDN 173 and other schools have reduced the potential for disease transmission and have provided a cleaner, more pleasant environment for everyone.
Since the early 1980s, the Tanoto Foundation, a long-term project of Indonesian-born entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto and his family, has worked to alleviate poverty in Indonesia, particularly in rural areas such as Jambi, located on the island of Sumatra. The SDN 173 school is itself situated at the edge of a forest. Indonesia’s rural districts contain a significantly higher percentage of people living in poverty than its cities, and their relative isolation makes access to high-quality education impossible for many families. Thanks to the Tanoto Foundation, children in such communities can now enjoy many more enriching educational experiences in a safer environment than their parents and grandparents did.