The life of Australia Awards alumni and ANU graduate Saur Marlina ‘Butet’ Manurung has been the inspiration for a feature film released across Indonesia. The film is based on Butet’s book ‘Sokola Rimba’ (The Jungle School).
Butet established the not-for-profit organization Sokola after seeing the need for alternative education amongst the Orang Rimba, or forest people, who live in the depths of the jungle in Sumatra.
Butet recognized that literacy would help the Orang Rimba to face threats to their jungle environment, way of life and existence. Literacy would also enable the indigenous and marginalized to represent themselves in their traditional but changing homeland.
Sokola takes into consideration the strict customs, traditions and lifestyles of indigenous forest people communities when developing individual literacy programs in the jungle.
Now in its tenth year, Sokola's young volunteers have served several indigenous tribes and marginalised communities across Indonesia, including Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, Jambi, West Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Flores, the Mollucas and Papua.
As a recipient of an Australia Award, Butet was supported to study a Masters of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development at the Australian National University.
The Australia Awards in Indonesia is managed by Coffey on behalf of the Australian Government. Coffey currently manages nine Australia Awards programs in thirteen countries.