The Indonesian Teaching Movement

Back from Jakarta, where I had the opportunity to partecipate at the 10th Europe Asia Young Leaders Forum dedicated to “Creating opportunities for economic growth and inclusion”. The Forum is one of many activities of the BMW Stiftung Herbert Quandt, a Foundation established in 1970 in honour of the founder of BMW. I had the opportunity to meet fellow entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, social entrepreneurs. Outstanding people  from around 28 countries all over Asia and Europe. And the great people at BMW Stiftung.

One of the many inspiring moments at the Forum, was the presentation of Anies Baswedan. Among many things, Anies is the founder of Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar (Indonesia Teaching Movement) an organization that is focused on bringing education in remote areas of Indonesia. The organization recruits well educated young Indonesians that volunteer to teach in elementary schools across the country, which is huge both in population (around as big as the US, 270 million people) and diversity, spread among 16.000 islands.

Partecipants in the program leave their jobs at corporations such as Procter & Gamble, McKinsey or Boston Consulting Group, for one full year, move into rural and very remote islands. Places where often there is no electricity and water is collected from the rain. Small towns in the most amazing nature, islands, beaches and (surfers know this well…) great waves! 🙂

In such places it’s not easy to convince people that education is something so strictly necessary. The reason why this organization is so special is that the main issue is not only to open up new schools. There is a second more important point.

Bringing motivated leaders in such local communities, becomes a tool to open the minds of the local community on a different and better future. These volunteers become sort of icons in the rural villages, that are remembered for year for the impact they bring.

And most importantly, the community understands how education can lift up the all local society in many different ways. And understand why its needed, important and impactful.

The organization from a certain point of view, is seeding across the country the need for education.

What I learned from this program:

1) This is something that we could use in Italy too. Adapted to a different environment and context (our main problem is the economic crisis, deindustrialization, delocalization and crisis of the welfare state, quite a different scenario from Indonesia. I certainly can think of many places in Italy where this would be needed;

2) I know what I will do when I retire. Possibly on a remote island of Indonesia, with Internet and big waves 365 days per year!

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