Mission & Values

Education, Equality & Emancipation, Dedicated Community and Transparency & Openness

Our Mission

The Heliconia Scholarship Foundation provides Heliconia Scholarships to young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds in Jakarta, so that they can study at an Indonesian university for four years. We support talented and ambitious youngsters from shelters, who do otherwise not have the opportunity to study.  We are the only foundation in the Netherlands that focuses exclusively on financing higher (tertiary) education in Indonesia.

Studying is very important for young adults in Indonesia. It gives them the opportunity to build a social network. A university degree increases their chances on the labour market significantly and ensures a stable income. It also challenges youngsters to believe in their own skills and capacities. It increases their self-confidence and makes them independent and self-reliant. This benefits the whole family. Studying thus creates the prospect of a bright future with a secure livelihood. It should therefore be accessible to everyone.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for many young adults in Indonesia. In 2016, only 28% of Indonesian youngsters were enrolled in higher education, compared to 80% in the Netherlands. Especially for youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds, it is difficult to gain access to a university. In 2007, 70% of all students were from the richest layer of the population, and only 10% from a low-income background. This is partly because 97% of Indonesian universities are private institutions that charge high tuition fees. Public universities offer high-quality education at lower costs, but have limited places available and an extremely complex admission procedure. High tuition fees, difficult admission tests and a lack of full scholarships thus complicate the accessibility of higher education for youngsters from poor families (source: see master thesis 'Scholarships for Higher Education and Wellbeing in Jakarta' and our Policy Plan).

The Heliconia Scholarship Foundation wants to change this. Therefore, we offer scholarships to underprivileged youngsters, that enable them to take a step up the social ladder and rise above poverty.

Our Values

The Heliconia Scholarship Foundation works from the values Equality & Emancipation, Dedicated Community and Transparency & Openness.

Equality and Emancipation Everyone should have the opportunity to study, regardless of their social or cultural background. We believe in the ambition that all humans have to give direction to their own lives. We trust in their will and decisiveness to make their own choices. Educated people generally have more agency to make conscious life-decisions, that reflect their own, well-informed judgements. Heliconia Scholarships offer youngsters the opportunity to develop their own personality, talents and skills, thereby achieving a high degree of independence. Moreover, a university degree opens doors to influential and legislative positions. People coming from disadvantaged backgrounds themselves are more likely to care for the needs of their underprivileged fellow citizens, who generally have less agency to step up for themselves. Our world needs people in charge from more varying cultural and social backgrounds, to ensure that the needs of all layers of society are taken into account. This contributes to the Emancipation of countries as a whole. Within our foundation, all staff, graduates and students are equal and encouraged to share their opinions and suggestions about our mission and work methods.

Dedicated Community is one of our most important values. Support from the Netherlands includes more than just financial support. We are a committed group of people that share a personal bond. The board in the Netherlands maintains close contact with our cooperation partners, students and graduates in Indonesia. These contacts ensure that we are all well-informed on each other's work, needs and progress. It enables us to constantly improve our work methods. Different social backgrounds and cultures come together. Interest and respect for these differences leads to mutual understanding and better cooperation. We learn and grow together, thereby ensuring the success and durability of our mission. See 'Heliconia Community' below for more information.

Transparency and Openness are essential in creating a fair world, in which all finances are spent in a righteous way and properly accounted for. Therefore, everyone can download our policy plan, statutes and financial reports from our website. We are open about our staff, students and graduates, by sharing personal stories and photos about our work and studies. We are committed to learning together by trial and error and therefore also report about the many lessons that we learned from e.g. our dropouts, name changes and overworking ourselves. For questions, suggestions or remarks, feel free to contact us!

Heliconia Community

The bedrock of our foundation is that staff members, students and graduates share a personal band. Over the years, we have learned that commitment to each other is the most important key to our success. Running a foundation or completing a university education requires dedication and perseverance. Both staff and students feel most motivated to give their best, when they feel supported by each other. We therefore ensure that we are all aware of each other’s efforts in making this charity a success. Understanding and encouraging these efforts enables us to keep up our good work.

We stay involved by chatting on a daily basis, discussing work or study topics and sharing about our personal progress and wellbeing. We praise each other’s successes and look for solutions together in case of setbacks (see Guidance and Support for more information). This creates a bond of friendship in which we can express ourselves safely and freely. Within our organisation, everyone is equal and encouraged to share their feelings and opinions. This enables us to constantly improve our work methods, because we take everyone’s points of view and needs into account.

Graduates stay committed to our foundation by helping with the selection and guidance of new students. Since they were raised in shelters, just like our students, they understand the specific challenges and needs of our students. Their expertise and mentorship are therefore very valuable. We organise annual events where graduates and students meet to share knowledge and skills, to offer study support, moral support or help in finding a job after graduation. We also intent for our Dutch board members to visit Indonesia every few years, and to invite our cooperation partners to the Netherlands, to get to know each other better and renew the personal ties.

Our organisation is built on the commitment that founders Carli and Mili have to each other and their shared goal of making higher education accessible. This dedication to growing together is the basis of our wider Heliconia Community and ensures the success and durability of our mission. Learn more about our Founding Story.

Environmental Responsibility

Climate change affects us all, with temperatures rising in both the Netherlands and Indonesia. We take responsibility for our environment by encouraging our staff, students and graduates to make conscious life-decisions, that have as little impact on the environment as possible.

Our team in the Netherlands carries most responsibility in being conscious consumers, since they have more financial resources and thus agency to make a change. We print only the necessary papers for our administration and most of our communication is over the internet. Every few years we fly to Indonesia, or our cooperation partners visit us, to renew our bonds. We try to compensate this by eating mostly organic, vegetarian foods at home and only buying second-hand or durable, ethically sourced products that truly add value to our lives.

Future Plans

For the past years (2015 - 2020), our main focus was on creating a strong foundation for our work. We invested our time in strengthening the Heliconia Community, perfecting our selection procedure, student guidance, smooth cooperation between the Netherlands and Indonesia, clear administration and this new multilingual website. We are now ready to share our mission to an international audience, attract new donors and carry our work far into the future! We intent to accept four to six new students into our program every year, so we have around 20 active students in our program at all times. Since our graduates stay connected to our foundation, the Heliconia Community grows each year.

With new funds we can provide more scholarships and expand the Heliconia Community. More graduates and students means that social networks can broaden further. More knowledge, skills and resources can be shared and our positive impact can expand. At this point, some graduates that have obtained a good job are now donating to our charity. This contributes to offering scholarships to the next generation of students. Our eventual aim is to establish an official foundation in Indonesia, which offers the possibility to attract sponsors from within Indonesia. We hope that our mission will eventually gain more support in Indonesia itself, thereby improving the effectiveness and sustainability of our work. See our Policy Plan for more information.