We’re joined this week by Ashoka Young Changemaker, Ara Kusuma. Since beginning her social entrepreneurial journey at 10 years old with Project Moo, Ara was quickly recognised as a Changemaker of the future, becoming an Ashoka Youth Venturer aged 11. Ara has gone on to launch a number of organisations including Aha! Project, a scheme to improve the access of study resources for children during the pandemic. A Changemaker in every sense, Ara is dedicated to correcting the problems she sees in the world, keeping her eyes open to new ways of making an impact.
Obsessed with cows as a little girl, Ara Kusuma asked for a cow of her own when she was 10. She and her parents set off to Central Java to visit a few farms and learn the best way to raise and care for farm animals. The first farm they went to had 1,500 cows living in clean, healthy conditions. But at the next stop, they found a different reality. Ara wanted to know, “What if all animals could live on farms like that first one?” With support from her parents to lay out a plan, Ara started Project Moo: For the Welfare of All. The goal? To surface and share innovations among village farmers to increase dairy production in a more sustainable way. In the four years that followed, Project Moo brought together 150 farmers, many of whom became leaders in the community, testing the new approaches and spreading what worked for the benefit of all. The community became cleaner and saw more income from new dairy products and sustainable fertiliser. In 2008, at age 11, Ara was recognised as an Ashoka Youth Venturer. Following her studies in marketing and management in Singapore, she returned to Indonesia and aged 21, she has started a travel-learning project URTravelearner to help others envision changemaker lives by seeing social entrepreneurs in action. In 2020, she launched Aha! Project, a scheme to improve the access of study resources for children during the pandemic.