In this first episode, Life Counsel talks with Reagan Felix Raharjo, founder of YSBM (Yayasan Saluran Berkat Mandiri) foundation. Reagan had a long and varied career, ranging from professional corporate jobs, as a staff member of a political figure, to even having his own business in the culinary field. However, since the pandemic in the middle of 2020, Reagan decided to establish YSBM and run the foundation full-time.
In the backyard of YSBM's office
Reagan, thank you for your time. Maybe you can start by explaining a little bit about what YSBM is and what you do through YSBM.
Okay.. YSBM is a foundation that focuses on preparing food and learning center for poor and neglected children who live in slum areas in Indonesia.
YSBM's vision and dream is to achieve Indonesia Gold 2045. In that year, Indonesia is predicted to have the 5th highest productive age population in the world.
We want to prepare those children from now by providing healthy food, quality education, so that in 2045 when they enter their productive age, they can create and make a positive contribution to their surroundings and to Indonesia.
So far, we have provided regular assistance to 752 children, and have built 14 learning centers in the Jakarta area.
The family backgrounds of these underprivileged children also vary, from children of scavengers, construction workers, traveling merchants, thugs, even children of prostitutes who do not have a father figure.
You already have quite a lot of work experience. Can you tell me why you chose to establish YSBM and do this full time, instead of taking a corporate job or trying to do business again?
I was born in a poor family, and I am the 4th child of 5 siblings. Due to financial difficulties since childhood, my parents were forced to leave some of their children in someone else’s care.
And ever since I was small, I remember there were always people who came to help our family so that I could eat and go to school. Even when I was already grown up, I went through many ups and downs and failures, but there were always people who helped me through all of them. If I could stand here now, it's because I've received a lot of help from other people.
When I see these underprivileged children, I am reminded of my childhood. When I look into their eyes, I feel like I saw myself as a child. I had a strong urge inside of me to help these children, to provide them with the same opportunities and help that I had since I was small.
Reagan giving food to one of the underprivileged children.
"When I see these underprivileged children, I am reminded of my childhood. When I look into their eyes, I feel like I saw myself as a child. I had a strong urge inside of me to help these children, to provide them with the same opportunities and help that I had since I was small."
What are the things that you and YSBM team usually teach to the children in the learning center?
Apart from education, we also share values and life’s principles to them.
Due to their family background which they are not proud of, most of them do not see themselves as worthy, so we always emphasize to them about self-worth.. that their lives are precious. We tell them they are beautiful and handsome, they are smart, they have potentials and can even become leaders. We tell them they are allowed to dream big, they were not born into this world by chance, and they definitely can make positive contributions to those around them.
Reagan is wearing Reverence Copper Black.
In less than 2 years, YSBM has done many things for these children. For the coming years, are there any targets that YSBM wants to achieve?
Short term target, YSBM aims to have an adequate office.
As for the long-term target, I personally want YSBM to one day be able to build a Shelter House, which is a place where children who don't have a home can stop for a while and take shelter there.. and at the same time can get healthy food, and be taught good values there too.
Our tagline is “Walk With The Wise”. Meaning, we believe that we will advance in life if we surround ourselves with the right and wise people. So far in your life, who has been that voice of wisdom for you to help you become a better person? And what advices or lessons that you remember most from them?
I have several leaders and mentors who always remind me things like, “Don't forget to take care of your own family. Don't be too busy giving to those children outside, that you forget to prioritize your own family inside your home."
Another piece of advice I always remember is, “If you have received help, don't forget it’s your turn to give help to other people. And the more we focus on giving, the more we will be given back.”
Reagan and YSBM team at one of the learning centers.
“Don't forget to take care of your own family. Don't be too busy giving to those children outside, that you forget to prioritize your own family inside your home."
Wow thanks Reagan for your time and your inspirational story. We will always support YSBM to one day achieve that big vision, and many more underprivileged children can receive help.
Thank you also Fine Counsel for the opportunity. I wish you all continued success and keep up the good work.
If you are interested to know more about Yayasan Saluran Berkat Mandiri (YSBM), you can go to ysbm.org