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When Heru Ardila Putra first moved to Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper’s (RAPP’s) complex in Pangkalan Kerinci, he was a school pupil. Today, thanks to a combination of hard work and scholarships he received from the company, he’s a pillar of the community as a doctor at the onsite clinic.

Heru’s desire to become a doctor and help the people of RAPP has its roots in his childhood in the complex, where his father still works as a mechanic.

When he was in junior high, Heru received the Sayap Garuda scholarship from the company. The scholarship covered his school costs until the end of his secondary school education at SMA Plus Taruna Andalan High School, where he graduated top of his class.

Heru then received another scholarship – this time from Tanoto Foundation – when he enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Riau in 2010.

“I was grateful because the scholarship covered my tuition fees and motivated me to maintain academic excellence. I made sure to never miss the minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement every semester,” Heru said.

After completing his medical studies, Heru worked as a doctor in Selat Panjang in the Kepulauan Meranti Regency, before moving to a private hospital in Pekanbaru. It was then that Heru applied for a job at the RAPP Clinic.

"I spent a year working in Selat Panjang before moving to the Awal Bros Hospital in Pekanbaru. When I learned that Awal Bros has a partnership deal with RAPP, I quickly applied for a position there because I wanted to go back and serve RAPP," said Heru, who is 28.

At first, Heru found working at the RAPP Clinic to be a challenge due to the diverse and multicultural backgrounds of his patients.

“As the town site is a multicultural neighbourhood, I really had to learn how to adapt to meeting the individual needs of each and every patient at first. But eventually it became second nature,” he said.

The bigger challenge was the fact that many of his patients were people he has known since he was a child, Heru said.

“I think it is quite different when it comes to treating patients who are our neighbours, former teachers and childhood friends! Not only do we have to provide optimal medical services, we have to be friendly and ensure that we’re maintaining good relations with them,” he said.

“But so far, it has been really fun working as a doctor at RAPP – it’s a decent workplace where all of my colleagues and I work well together,” Heru added.

Heru’s next step is to pursue further medical education and eventually specialize as a urologist.

He urged young people who find that they are struggling to reach their goals to hold on to their dreams and to ignore disbelievers and negative comments.

“Don’t ever give up when it comes to pursuing your dreams,” he said.

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