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When you come from a low-income family and reside on a remote Indonesian island, it’s highly unlikely that you will go on to pursue higher education and contribute towards developing the country’s technology.

However, one Pulau Padang native has achieved just that, after being the first student from that area of Kepulauan Meranti in Riau to receive a scholarship from the APRIL Group.

“At first, I did not expect that I would reach this stage because previously there were no students from Pulau Padang who had ever received a scholarship from APRIL,” says Efendi.

At first, Efendi’s dream of being able to attend university seemed to be impossible.

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?