Sukanto Tanoto is undoubtedly one of the success stories of our time. The 68 year old, dubbed the resource king of Asia, built an empire worth over 15 billion dollars in assets in 50 years – his personal wealth alone is estimated to be about 2 billion dollars. He is the current chairman of RGE, which manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri, Pacific Oil and Gas – all of which he founded. That he achieved all of this is impressive in itself. That he started everything as a seventeen year old without a completing his education, is reminiscent of a classic rags-to-riches, fairytale story come true.
Sukanto Tanoto Turns Regret into Motivation
For all his success, Sukanto Tanoto has often mentioned that his interrupted education remains one of his few regrets. While some would suggest all’s well that ends well –he is a billionaire after all – the entrepreneur extraordinaire continues to be determined to ensure no one else suffers the same fate again. To this end Tanoto Foundation, the philanthropic arm of his empire he set up with his wife Tinah Bingei Tanoto, has worked tirelessly to improve education and literacy standards globally. One way in which it has been doing so, has been through its Pelita Puska Programme, which aims to foster an interest in reading amongst Indonesian Children.
Tanoto Foundation: A Strong Track Record
The Pelita Puska Programme currently targets schools in rural areas, where information is often limited and facilities are poor. Beyond building and renovating the libraries in these schools, Tanoto Foundation also contributes materials to these libraries, and offers training to teachers who could go on to also become librarians. By doing so, Tanoto Foundation seeks to facilitate the maintenance and accessibility of reading materials, which would go a long way in increasing interest in reading and improving literacy rates. As of 2016, Tanoto Foundation has built and renovated libraries in 186 schools, and donated over 32,000 books, and trained over 1800 teachers. The fight might not be won tomorrow, but Sukanto Tanoto’s vision is slowly, but surely becoming reality.