This profile was prepared when Bagus Pursena was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1992.
The New Idea
Bagus and his friends have set up an organization that functions as a social responsibility school for students. Through its many programs, students are exposed to problems, trained to analyze, and are given the skills needed to undertake problem solving. The organization is called Yayasan Geni, and is headquartered in Salatiga, central Java. Its strategic location, close to Semarang, Solo, and Yogyakarta, enables it to recruit students not only from Satya Wacana, one of the most prestigious private universities, but also students from the numerous top-tier universities in these cities.Bagus and his colleagues, organized privately off campus, help students understand and, together, try to solve major social issues facing the bulk of the population. He believes this process instills a long-lasting sensitivity that will make the participating students responsible and effective citizens.To build strength, organization, and experience in the community itself, Yayasan Geni organizes strong, grassroots social programs. By involving students in these projects, and thus marrying student and grassroots activism, Yayasan Geni produces a powerful, complementary force for change that can be replicated virtually anywhere there are universities or institutions of higher learning - lives are improved, perspectives changed, and people empowered to take more control of their social situation and to give voice to their needs and aspirations more frequently and forcefully. For the broader education of the students and community members, Bagus has established an information center that has complete documentation on the projects and cases they handle. It contains information on Indonesian events and issues not available through the press, including materials developed by the group's own research and others from overseas.