Angels Heroes

Saur Marlina Manurung

by Anatashya from Jakarta

What is a hero? A strong man or a famous person? I think no. For me, a hero is a person who can give all of us inspiration and can make the world a better place to live in. That person doesn’t have to be rich or beautiful, but he’s just to give everything in his heart to share with others. And from that, he can make the others feel better and better. I think there is a person who has done her mission in making a progress to this world and she has given me an inspiration. For me she is an angel especially for the jungle men. Her name is Saur Marlina Manurung and her nickname is Butet Manurung. Her appearance is average, but her actions make her shine.

She was born in Jakarta thirty two years ago. Her parents came from North Sumatra. She lived in a happy family. Her father was very protective of her, for instance she was not allowed to ride on a public bus or buy the food that people sold on the road. After her father passed away, when she was in senior high school, she started to improve herself. When she was in Padjadjaran University, she often went hiking with her friends and found the truth from nature that was very different from her every day life. She found out that nature doesn’t only have wild and beautiful flora and fauna, but also has an interesting life of jungle people behind it.

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true angel (

She learnt about the living of the jungle people and realized that there was something wrong with them. They couldn’t write, count and still lived in a traditional way. That’s why the people from other provinces in Indonesia that have moved or migrated to the same area with them always take advantage of them. For instance, the migrants bought the jungle people’s land and houses for a cheap price. It happened because they know that the jungle people couldn’t count and didn’t know the price of money. That situation made her wanted to change it all. After she graduated from Padjadjaran University, she joined an organization which is called ‘Warung Konservasi Indonesia’ (WARSI). She started to teach the jungle boys in 1999 in Riau.

She started to teach in Bukit Dua Belas National Park. It is in the middle of Jambi province. She found out many troubles there. The jungle people were very suspicious of a stranger like Butet Manurung. But she did not surrender because she really wanted to teach and help them. She did some tricks to make Anak Dalam (jungle boys) believe. She said that she wanted to learn about their culture and to repay it, she want to teach them how to count and read. For her, it was a very simple way to make them understand.

Now, she has had 14 teachers to help her. There are from Anak Dalam too. Her progress has given her the appreciation from Asian Time Magazine as “Asian heroes 2004”. She enjoyed teaching in the forest because she wanted to be a valuable person for them. She said, “they wouldn’t be able to defend themselves if they did not get education from now.”

Page created on 2/11/2008 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 2/11/2008 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

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MY HERO story - by TUTI & LISKA from 24 Senior High School in Bandung