The Bhumiksara Foundation, a Catholic NGO that prepares the nation's future leaders
by Mathias Hariyadi

The foundation celebrated 33 years of activity with a seminar dedicated to leadership and the COVID-19 pandemic. Moral integrity and inclusion are some of the principles required to join. The NGO is now open to non-Catholics, including Hindu and other Christian students.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The Bhumiksara Foundation (Yayasan Bhumiksara, YB), a Catholic charity serving Church and country, fosters talents who can become future leaders, capable of nurturing their (Christian) faith while working for the development of Indonesian society and nation amid challenges and difficulties, with the COVID-19 pandemic as a current priority.

Founded on 20 March 1988, the Foundation recently held a seminary to celebrate its 33 years of activity. Its name, Bhumiksara, comes from the Sanskrit and means “salt of the earth”.

Its purpose is to identify young Catholics in school in order to train them for prominent roles, providing education and all-round “spiritual guidance”, not only in matters of faith. Outstanding leadership capability and moral integrity are some of the requirements needed to be selected.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation; however, Christians represent a sizable minority. Over the years, they have been able to assert themselves in various fields, from culture and education to medicine and science.

The Foundation’s guiding principles were laid down by its founders, who include important leaders in the Archdiocese of Jakarta, from Jesuit priests and intellectuals like Fr Kuylaars Kadarman and Fr FX Danuwinata to former Indonesian Finance Minister Frans Seda and Professors Anton Moeliono, Johanes Sadiman and P S Swantoro.

Seda and Moeliono are among the founders of Jakarta’s Atma Jaya Catholic University.

On Saturday, the foundation held a seminar dedicated to integrated leadership for the post-COVID-19 era and the challenges that must be overcome to cope with the global health emergency. Participants included bishops, priests, lay and consecrated persons, intellectuals, academics and members of civil society, sign of the Foundation’s value and importance in Indonesian society.

The Bhumiksara Foundation bases its work on five fundamental principles: moral integrity, leadership in the service of the community, intellectual edge, compassion, and inclusion.

Traditionally, it focused on Catholic youths, but now it is now open to non-Catholics, and other ethnic and religious minorities, including Hindus and other Christians, said its executive director, Royani Lim, speaking to AsiaNews.

The Foundation has also become involved with other organisations, such as the Indonesian Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK), to promote “moral integrity” in the country.

For Ery Seda, the NGO’s chief and daughter of one of its founders, Frans Seda, “We are called to bring our moral integrity to the shared values of society, so that as many people as possible can practise them.”

Paulus Januar agrees. The public health expert and Bhumiksara alumnus believes that people must “work together”, each according to “their own professional skills”.