Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Most Generous Nation

It makes us proud to know that Indonesia is again included in the ranks of the most generous countries in the world.  In the recently released World Giving Index 2017 by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), Indonesia ranks second.

In the sub-category of generosity in sacrificing time to help others, Indonesia ranks at the top. Indonesian people most actively dedicate time to help others. This means that the generosity of Indonesian society is also accompanied by real action of going to the field, so as to be in solidarity with and to feel what is experienced by those who need a helping hand.

The escalation of philanthropic waves in this country does bring optimism. Although there is no valid data regarding the number of philanthropic institutions operating in Indonesia, we can witness as well as feel how massive are the initiatives of these generosity movements amidst the society. Some are self-supporting, while more than few are supported by business institutions, governments, or NGOs.

Coverage of philanthropy movement is increasingly diverse. Some are engaged in the fields of education, health, economic empowerment, and disaster. The latter is the most vibrant. Of course this is not unrelated with the geographical condition of Indonesia as a disaster-prone area, which requires high solidarity to help each other.

The philanthropy movements may be seen as a lonely road in contributing to the building of the country.  It is not a business or political road that always attracts public cameras and cheers.  Philanthropy is different, because it is born from the calling of the soul and gives inner pleasure to those who walk this social movement.

At the global level, we see that even the richest person on this planet still needs a philanthropic vessel to express the freedom of the soul. Who does not know Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, the two figures that choose to focus attention in the field of health? Bill and Melinda travel around the world carrying out humanitarian missions precisely not by displaying material luxury but by putting down their piles of wealth.

In this country, we also have a treasury of philanthropic figures. In the field of education, for example, who is not familiar with Sukanto Tanoto?  Through Tanoto Foundation, a conglomerate, who has pioneered his business from the bottom, has very actively moving in  the world of scholarships in Indonesia.  For school and university students, the name “Tanoto” is probably better known as a scholarship provider than the owner of Asian Agri, PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper, and various businesses under the Royal Golden Eagle International group.

Tanoto Foundation, can be said as the ‘brand’ of the legendary scholarship donor.  It has been successful in producing qualified human resources.  This is evidenced by the data that shows as many as 67 percent of Tanoto Foundation scholarship recipients have careers in the top-tier companies, starting from multinational corporations, state-owned enterprises, or national private companies. It is of no wonder the Tanoto Foundation scholarships have become the target of school and university students.

Excerpted from the writing of Jusman Dalle, Executive Director of the Philanthropy NGO Tali Foundation and Practitioner of Digital Economy, published in Republika, Wednesday, October 4, 2017.

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