Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food has been working with humanitarian aid organisation Tzu Chi in Indonesia for over two decades, to care for and help those in need.
To increase volunteerism within the company, Chairman and CEO, Franky Widjaja formed Sinar Mas Peduli in 2004 to match opportunities for employees to help as volunteers and donors, with various kinds of humanitarian activities carried out in collaboration with Tzu Chi. This continued to grow, and in 2007, we formalised the partnership with Tzu Chi to establish Tzu Chi Sinar Mas.
Tzu Chi Sinar Mas aims to spread the culture of gotong royong (mutual assistance) within the organisation; to nurture employees who care for others and improve lives by providing better community services. This is achieved through activities in four key areas: Charity, Health, Environmental Conservation and Education, and Humanitarian Culture.
We have over 5,000 volunteers under Tzu Chi Sinar Mas. The volunteers are grouped into 30 Xie Lis (community volunteer area) based on their location, and the activities carried out by each Xie Li is dependent on the needs of their surrounding communities.
In 2018 alone, our volunteers helped over 58,800 people through services such as free dental checks, health counselling for mother and child, consultations on cervical cancer and youth reproductive health, etc.
For example, the Village Stunting Prevention Programme in Mantan Village, Kalimantan Barat, provides better nutrition to help children grow well. Our volunteers plant vegetables in the community’s backyard, offer health services to mothers and their children, and improve public sanitation facilities. To date, 101 households have benefitted from this programme.
Our volunteers also help out in the ‘Five Kilometre Care’ Programme, where communities as far as five kilometres from our plantations receive free surgery and treatment for conditions such as cataracts, hernia, and harelip.
This year, we also introduced Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology scholarships, giving disadvantaged Indonesian youths, especially in communities near our plantations, the opportunity to study agribusiness management in Taiwan.
“Tzu Chi has been our partner in sowing the seeds of love for all human beings because of its outstanding track record and the fact that it has been registered with the United Nations (UN). This organisation exists in more than 50 countries around the globe and upholds a philosophy that love should be extended toward others without regard for one’s race, ethnicity, religion, nationality and/or gender,” says Tawang Sotya Djati, Tzu Chi Sinar Mas Coordinator.
Today, the spirit of giving back to communities is stronger than ever, with as many as 585 volunteers taking the next step to be Calon Komite – next level volunteers who pledge to carry out Tzu Chi’s humanitarian activities in their home areas.
“We hope the work of our volunteers inspire others to take action, to help wherever they can. The world will be a much better place,” concludes Tawang.