Wachidus (We Es) Sururi
This profile was prepared when Wachidus (We Es) Sururi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Kak WeEs is filling the void of creative and analytic thinking in childrens's social and formal education by reintroducing storytelling as a teaching tool. Whereas the standard curriculum in Indonesian schools emphasizes learning facts, Kak WeEs's teaching methods engage students and promote a deeper level of thinking, understanding, and communication. He trains parents and teachers alike in the skills that will help them enlist storytelling as a teaching tool. The strength of this storytelling approach lies in the interactive communication style. Kak WeEs is utilizing an old source of social energy in Indonesia; the various cultures of Indonesia are rich in storytelling and oral traditions. Historically, social initiatives such as family planning campaigns have successfully used traditional storytelling, which is not only entertaining, but stimulates creativity and teaches about morals and local knowledge. Kak WeEs has allied himself with an established network of neighborhood leaders who use his storytelling techniques to communicate with local residents and promote his approach to family communication. Within the formal education system, he has set up a pilot school project where he trains educators to integrate storytelling techniques into each individual subject in the curriculum. To further spread his idea, Kak WeEs has convinced the Sultan of Yogyakarta, an influential Javanese leader, to support and promote his educational approach.