Barbie Role Models: Butet Manurung (Indonesia)

Activist and Founder of Sokola Rimba


Butet Manurung

Born in Jakarta in 1972, Butet studied anthropology and Indonesian literature at Padjadjaran University, Bandung. In 1999 she joined the conservation ‘WARSI Jambi’, running an education program for Orang Rimba - an indigenous, nomadic group living in the Jambi forest. This work led her and four colleagues to establish the SOKOLA Institute, a non-profit organization providing educational opportunities for marginalized communities in remote Indonesia and literacy to more than 15,000 children and adults.

As an educator and activist, Butet received various international awards such as – UNESCO's "Man and Biosphere Award" 2001, TIME Magazine's "Hero of Asia" 2004, "Ashoka Fellow" 2006, "Asia Young Leader" 2007, "Young Global Leader" 2009, Ernst and Young Indonesian “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” 2012 and the 'Asia Nobel Prize' Ramon Magsaysay Award 2014. In 2011, she completed her Master's majoring in Applied Anthropology and Development Participation from the Australian National University. In 2012, she attended the Global Leadership and Public Policy course at Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, USA.