Belinda Tanoto and the Tanoto Foundation’s Holistic Approach to Poverty Alleviation


Belinda Tanoto, the daughter of Sukanto Tanoto (founder of the Tanoto Foundation and the RGE Group of corporation), has recently outlined some of the main challenges and plans associated with poverty alleviation in Indonesia.

Just as Sukanto Tanoto himself has failed to complete his education due to the inability of the local educational system to provide support for children in the 1950s and 60s, millions of children struggle with the same problem today.

The Tanoto Foundation and the Three Es

It is the mission of the Tanoto Foundation, together with various other philanthropic and non-governmental groups, as well as the Indonesian Government itself, to provide new opportunities for the education and empowerment of the people. The foundation also aims to enhance local resources in order to provide better opportunities for children and students, as well as for small business owners, to ultimately improve their ability to help themselves.

As Belinda Tanoto has pointed out, these are the three E’s that the Tanoto Foundation focuses on in order to help alleviate poverty in regions like Jambi: education, enhancement and empowerment.

They have already made significant effort to improve the education in Indonesia through programs such as Pelita Pandidikan and a powerful scholarship program. Through these initiatives, the Foundation hopes to not only provide kids with better resources (they have already worked with more than 300 schools and donated about 30,000 books), but also to improve the quality of the education in the regions that need it the most, through training programs for teachers.

Planning for a Future without Poverty

The magnitude of these initiatives, of course, will not stop with overcoming the challenges present in education. Small and medium businesses have also benefited from working together with the Tanoto Foundation and its various corporate partners.

Smallholder farmers and small businesses throughout Indonesia are enjoying better training and improved opportunities either to expand through the palm oil industry or by becoming contractors at the bottom of the supply chain.

Further efforts are underway to overcome the additional challenges that stand in the way of poverty alleviation, including:

  • The divide between the quality of life in urban and rural areas;
  • The lack of relevant data that could supply vital information to be used in the creation of new philanthropic and support programs;
  • The ability to induce a lasting change in people’s mindset and promote the importance of good education and responsible business practices.

Belinda Tanoto is leading the current work in bringing improved solutions for poverty alleviation; she is also scheduled to talk on the Channel NewsAsia Perspective panel on June the 10th, in order to provide further information on the Tanoto Foundation’s mission of fighting inequality in Indonesia.