Young Change Maker from Indonesia : Ara Kusuma

Young Change Maker from Indonesia : Ara Kusuma

Change maker is someone who can make an impact and change for him/herself also for society. There are many amazing change maker in the world with various background.

One of them is this girl from Indonesia who started to make a change in a village when she was only 10 years old !

Born in November 17th 1997, Ara Kusuma is a girl who loves everything about cow dreaming to have a cow one day. She collected anything related to cow like stuffed cow, clothes with cow’s image and hats. She loves everything about cow so much. one day she was dreaming about having a cow and that dream is the reason Moo's project was born. 

What is Moo’s Project ?

Moo's Camp (Source : Ara Kusuma)
Moo's Camp (Source : Ara Kusuma)


Moo project is a project initiated by Ara and her family purposed to enhance social capability. At first after Ara said that she want to have a cow, her parent encourage it by traveling to Sukorejo village in Boyolali in order to know how to raise a cow.

“After the trip we (Ara and family) discussed about cow with 5W+1H (What, Who, When, Where, Why and How), in that discussion I’ve gained many perspectives” She said.

Apparently, Ara’s family did not only go to Sukarejo Village to know about Cow, they went to Lembah Hijau Multi Farm to gain knowledge about Cow management started from how to manage the food for the cows so quality poop and urine will be produced for fertilizer and how to process the milk.

“I’ve seen the differences of cows management between private company and in the village because in the village cows are manage by the owner their self” Ara said

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)

She, then thinking how  to implemented the integrated farming she gained from private company to the village so that everyone will have the benefit from it.

Moo project was successfully implemented in Sukorejo Village in 2008-2012 with the slogan “Mulyo Sesarengan” which mean prosper together . This project created a good management of Cow and the dump. There are Enam Emas (Six Golds) of Cow. First, the management of milk which can be processed to a new product with added value such as Puding, Ice Cream, Cake and others. Second, the meat, third and fourth, the fesses and urine which can produce quality fertilizer for plants. Fifth, the agro tourism and last, the biogas. There were about 150 farmers engaged with Moo project

There Was A Challenge

Even though Moo project was successful, the process behind it was not as smooth as we thought. Ara who was only 10 years old when speaking with the people in the village about how to manage cows, she was being ignored. This is normal, like who wanna hear a stranger suggesting them  about what they have to do with their cows all in a sudden.

Ara and family then decided to change the strategy. His father, Dodik Mariyanto became the communicator since he can speak Javanese fluently, her mother, Septi Peni Wulandari as the communicator for the women. Ara,  Enes Kusuma (her sister) and Elan (her brother) play with the kids in the village.

“what I found was, the kids there did not drink the milk because they though milk is smelly, then me and my siblings tried to do some improvement such as mixing the milk and chocolate powder, making pudding and other things”, she said

Apparently, this strategy is the best strategy to be implemented because at last, the people were happy to engage with Moo Project.

The Journey Become Ashoka Young Change Maker

Ara when she was in Ashoka Young Change Maker (source : Ara Kusuma file)
Ara when she was in Ashoka Young Change Maker (source : Ara Kusuma file)


Ashoka Young Change Maker is a platform for young change maker in the world. There was an open application of this program. Ara who was only 11 years old wants to try it. However, Ashoka Young Change Maker was purposed only those who age between 18 – 30 years old.

“I knew I was under age to apply Ashoka Young Change Maker, but I just confidently wrote my application, explaining about Moo project and sent it hoping there is a miracle. Though, if I did not accepted  at least I can get the feedback .” She said

Her parent encouraged her to apply the Ashoka program and she received and email from Ashoka stating that they lowered the age limitation from 18-30 to 12-25. Ashoka committee also encouraged her and saying that is okay to be Ashoka Young Change Maker even if she was only 10 years old

Ashoka Young Change Maker 2008
Ashoka Young Change Maker 2008


Ara’s action in Moo project brought her to be Ashoka Young Change Maker after interview phase. She got the workshop from Ashoka in Bogor on how to make vision board, action plan and execute the ideas. She was the youngest member and gained many knowledge as well as network.

“The thing that I gained the most in this program is the network and capacity building from this program, back then I didn’t know about vision board and social entrepreneur. I was also have a chance to present Moo project in several events which cooperated with Ashoka”, she said

Home Education

Ara's Family (source : Septi Peni Wulandari)
Ara's Family (source : Septi Peni Wulandari)


The success of Ara is actually because of her parent’s dedication to educate their children. With a “home education” system, her mother who was the founder of Jarimatika is an amazing mother. Every of her children opinion she heard it wholeheartedly. Her mother beliefs that every kids has their own strength.

“In my family, we called it home education. Every education path we chose there will be education in home. The curriculum is designed by the family”.  She said

Ara received  a scholarship from  Royal Holloway, University of London in Singapore branch and finished her undergraduate study in Marketing and Management when she was 18 years old.

Ara Kusuma in Graduation (Source : Ara Kusuma)
Ara Kusuma in Graduation (Source : Ara Kusuma)


She went to many countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Korea, Japan and The United States of America. In the Philippines, there was a program “Change Makers Exchange” which she joined. In this program there was around 22 change maker from many countries from Asia and Europe. In Korea she went to Korea to travel and ended up to share her knowledge because a teacher asked her.

Ur Travel Learner Project in Singapore (source :
Ur Travel Learner Project in Singapore (source :


Now he has a new project namely Ur Travel Learner. This project is conducting learning by traveling such as exchange knowledge. Usually there will be 3 days and 2 nights trip with themes. 

“Youths have energy and imagination, use that to bring positive change. Open our eyes, our mind to open many possibilities in life. Ask questions as many as we can to enhance our empathy and do something about it”

_Ara Kusuma_







Adli Hazmi

International politics enthusiast contact me by instagram : adli_hazmi
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