Friday, 5 January 2018

The Tanoto Scholar Promoting Indonesian Culture

Agata Ayu Gita may only be 21 years old and studying industrial engineering, but the soon-to-be-graduate already has plans to integrate the knowledge she gains through her degree with her passion – Indonesian arts – after she finishes school.

The Jakarta native, who prefers to be called Gita, is currently in her final year at the University of Indonesia in Depok, located in Indonesia’s West Java province.

“I’m studying industrial engineering, which is a really scientific and management-based course. But I really want to contribute towards showcasing Indonesia and Indonesian culture, more specifically, to the world.

“So in the future, I want to manage and help people start their own businesses which are related to the Indonesian arts which I love,” Gita shares.

Gita is one of many university scholars who are currently pursuing their undergraduate studies as recipients of education scholarships provided by Tanoto Foundation.

She was also one of the scholars in attendance at the Tanoto Scholars Gathering 2017 event held recently at the Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) Complex in Pangkalan Kerinci, Sumatra.

“I think before you even become a Tanoto Foundation scholar or apply for a scholarship, you should have an understanding of their values.

“(By becoming a Tanoto scholar, you’re) joining a big community which has a vision to fight against poverty and inequality in Indonesia, primarily through education, empowerment and enhancement efforts,” she says.

Gita says when she first considered applying for scholarships in her second year of university, she carried out a lot of research in determining which ones to apply for.

“I looked at a few of them and was immediately drawn to the one offered by Tanoto Foundation from the start.

“I saw that the organization offers training in batik-making as part of its community development programs (through corporate partner RAPP). I thought it was really great to see that they were facilitating connections between society and culture in such a way, and that batik-making can become a potential industry and means of livelihood.

“I realized that they were doing what I want to do, which is to work with people and promote Indonesian culture at the same time,” she says.

Batik, in fact, is one of the Indonesian art forms that Gita is especially passionate about, having taken part in the Putri Batik Nusantara (Indonesian Batik Ambassador) Pageant in 2016.

Gita credits Tanoto Foundation for her participation in the competition as she was able to save some of the money she acquired through her scholarship and use it to fund her pageant preparation efforts.

“As it’s a pageant relevant to national batik ambassadorship, I was therefore investing in my dreams (of wanting to promote Indonesian culture as a career) by joining,” she explains.

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(1/3) Selamat hari kartini, hari yang mengingatkan bahwa tiap wanita berhak dan mampu meraih apa yang ia cita-citakan. Begitu juga saya, yang sejak kecil sangat menyukai tembang jawa dan campur sari. Saat itu, walau masih sedang belajar, saya dapat menembang suatu alunan klasik yang menceritakan seorang istri yang sedih, yang sedang dilupakan oleh suaminya. Biasanya saat membatik, perempuan jawa bersenandung dan terus mengutarakan perasaannya dalam tiap goresan canting. Batik Truntum Gurdo, yang tergantung, bermakna cinta yang tumbuh kembali dan diperlengkapi motif garuda yang mengisyaratkan kegagahan dan kekuatan dalam menghadapi berbagai rintangan. Dalam suka duka hidup, dukungan diperlukan terlebih dari orang tua yang dilambangkan di Batik Sido Wirasat yang dipakai, motif tersebut mengisyaratkan harapan agar keluarga pengantin dan mempelai berdua dapat hidup rukun serta menemukan titik terang dalam setiap permasalahan yang ada.

A post shared by Agata Ayu Gita (@agataayugita) on

Gita won the talent portion of the competition by singing a traditional Javanese song – another one of her favourite forms of Indonesian art.

“So I would say that Tanoto Foundation is not only willing to support Indonesian students in terms of their education, but also towards their future dreams.

“It’s really great. When I was going through the interview (as part of the scholarship application process), I meant everything I said to the interviewers. I told them ‘this is where I want to go, and your support will be really valuable to me’.

“And Tanoto Foundation listened and it’s allowing me to go where I want to go. And for that, I’m really thankful,” she says.

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