Sukanto Tanoto is a firm believer in education. The self-proclaimed lifelong leaner is mostly known as the founder and chairman of RGE, which manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri and Pacific Oil and Gas. Less know about his difficult beginnings; he was forced to give up his education when he was seventeen, to take over his family’s business. It remains a big regret of the billionaire entrepreneur, whose companies collectively employ 60,000 people and own assets worth US$18 billion.
Unfulfilled dreams turn into motivation
His inability to complete his education shaped his passion for philanthropy, and he has been actively within it. Through Tanoto Foundation, which he founded with his wife Tinah Bingei Tanoto, he sought to educate, empower, and enhance the quality of lives of the unfortunate. Sukanto Tanoto knows that education has and always will be a driver of change, and is fully behind any intiative to promote it. A good education is important, but often out of reach for the poor. Often, children suffer the same fate Sukanto Tanoto experienced, in having an education cut short. It is an experience he is determined to prevent anyone else from suffering.
Tanoto Foundation makes it easier to read
To this end, Tanoto Foundation most recently conducted reading programes from their Pelita Pustaka initiative for the children of SDN 013 Simpang Sigaruntung. The event was organised in conjunction with PT RAPP, APRIL’s Indonesian subsidiary. The programme aimed to introduce reading as a passion to children early, in the hope that they may develop the passion for reading early. This time round, thousands of books were distributed to schools in the Inuman-Cerenti sub-district.
Such activities according to Estate Manager for PT RAPP, Jordan Valioano, should hopefully motivate children to develop an interest in reading. Even in the digital age, he stressed, reading should and must be campaigned for. He further added, saying, “Tanoto Foundation and RAPP will continue to support this activity for the advancement of education in the region.”
The aid of organisations like Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL and Tanoto Foundation remain all the more important. In a world where companies are allowed to become bigger and bigger, they retain their social license to operate only by fulfilling their duty to the communities they operate in. It is therefore heartening to see businessmen like Sukanto Tanoto who still believe in doing the right thing. The 68 year old strongly believes in doing good for the Community, Country, Climate, Customer, and Company, something he calls the 5Cs. Thankfully, it is something he insists all his companies do to.