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The word “surrender” does not exist in Tukiman’s dictionary. Although he has been constrained by a physical disability since childhood, his spirit to live and work like everyone else has never dampened.

“My situation has always been like this from the very beginning, but I do not want to be pitied like others.

“Because of my condition, I was unable to get a job like everyone else. From there, I formed the intention to open my own workshop,” Tukiman says.

Armed with mechanical skills he acquired from a training course, Tukiman bravely ventured to open the “Man Service” motorcycle workshop in Gabung Makmur Village, Kerinci Kanan District, Siak Regency in Indonesia.

Tukiman, who was born in Banyuwangi, set up his workshop about 20 years ago, right after he decided to migrate to Riau to take part in the transmigration program launched by the government.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are not just an Indonesian issue but a global one and everyone - including young people - from any country can collectively contribute towards achieving them.

That’s the sentiment expressed by 20-year-old Galuh Widyastuti, following her recent participation at the YES4SDG Youth Summit held in Bangkok from October 10 to 14.

The second year University of Indonesia student, who hails from Salatiga in Central Java, has been an ambassador for The Fascinating World of Forestry (TFWoF) since April this year.

TFWoF, which is run by APRIL Group, is an educational programme that aims to educate students about forestry, the environment, sustainability and community development.

We all have stories of unusual first days in new jobs, but imagine starting work as a recruiter at a pulp and paper company and for your first task being asked to source an elephant handler.

This was 35-year-old Henny Sumarlin’s experience over a decade ago, when she joined PT RAPP as a graduate recruitment trainee in 2005. She would never have imagined her first task as a recruiter would be having to recruit a mahout.

Henny recalls thinking that her supervisor was joking initially. “I remember asking myself – what would a pulp and paper company need an elephant keeper for?

Sarmin’s family is larger than most. Not only does he have nine children, but some of them weigh over four tons each.

Sarmin works as a mahout in APRIL’s Elephant Flying Squad, taking care of the elephants he considers to be a part of his family. For more than a decade Sarmin, his wife and three children have called Ukui Estate in Sumatra’s Riau province home, and the six elephants part of their extended family.

"Basically the elephant has feelings, just like humans,” he explains. “So I have to treat her like I treat my children. The elephant is sometimes very sensitive, so I have to make the elephant feel comfortable.”

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