Prestige chats with the founders of Gelang Harapan – Amanda Soekasah, Janna Soekasah-Joesoef and Wulan Guritno – about the importance of hope
Hope. It’s a simple but powerful word that is so meaningful. It’s a word that can turn into a step and then a movement that would change the whole world. Best friends since they were teenagers, Amanda Soekasah, Janna-Soekasah Joesoef and Wulan Guritno share the same passion and love for spreading hope. What started out as a simple mission of helping spread awareness about cancer and an act of solidarity has now have touched a lot of lives and spread goodness for those who need it most through the Gelang Harapan – aka Bracelet of Hope – movement. That is how powerful a simple word like hope is for these ladies. This is their story.
Hello and thank you for having us. What are you up to these days?
Janna: We’ve recently launched our latest movement titled #KASIH, which is the result of our reflections during the pandemic. In this case we mean “kasih” in the sense of loving each other and love in the broader sense of giving, sharing and caring for others. We collaborated with young Indonesian designer Stella Rissa to make “Kasih” T-shirts. Profits from the sales will be channelled through Plan Indonesia which is affiliated with Plan International for the fulfilment of children’s rights and equality for girls.
Could you tell us how the three of you first met? And what made you decide to establish Gelang Harapan?
Amanda: We were already friends since we were teenagers. We became closer after we all finished our studies abroad and came back to Indonesia. We became closer and became almost like a family. What brought us closer together is that we all have the same multi-cultural background, the same passion for beauty, art, culture. The three of us love to work hard and we share the same passion and love for others.
We started our Bracelet of Hope movement in October 2014, with the mission to spread hope and love. We focused our movement and social entrepreneurship on helping to spread cancer awareness and helping underprivileged cancer patients and families. We started our movement by making bracelets from waste material of a senior Indonesian Designer, Ghea Panggabean, who is the mother of me and Janna. The material we used is an Indonesian print called jumputan, which means rainbow. And rainbow represents hope.
During that time, we noticed that the role of social media is really important in spreading any message, whether it is a negative or positive message. So, we decided to sell our bracelets and spread hope and positivity through social media. And with the help of our friends and families, public figures and personalities, the movement became really big. We would sell more than 1,000 bracelets a month. From there on, we formed the Yayasan Dunia Kasih Harapan in cooperation with cancer foundations and the National Cancer Control Committee of Indonesia. Now, we are committed to spread hope in other causes through what we call “CareEntertainment”: spreading hope and love and helping others in need in a different kind of packaging, in this case entertainment, which is close to our hearts.
How would you best describe the way you work as a team?
Wulan: The three of us have our own strengths and weaknesses, so we work from that. Each of us are focused on our own tasks. We do not demand more from each other, but we encourage each other.
Amanda: We complete each other! Janna, Wulan and I share the same passion and values, but we all have different educational backgrounds and we also have our own strength as part of our personalities. In completing our projects and daily duties, we automatically deal with different tasks and complement each other in finishing every project.
Could you tell us more about Gelang Harapan and why you chose bracelets?
Janna: The reason why we chose bracelets as our product is because bracelets can be worn by anybody of all ages, men or women. Also, bracelets are round and endless, and we want our movement to be sustainable and can continuously spread hope. The profits from the sales of the bracelets go to cancer sufferers and their families. We have also established a Room of Hope at Dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital (RSCM) and the Car of Hope which us dedicated to BPJS cancer patients in RSCM.
Wulan: After a lengthy discussion, we concluded that besides education, we also want to help. Apart from crowdfunding or raising donations, we also want to become an independent foundation, that can act without having to wait and be constantly on the move helping people. That’s why we thought we needed a product. We chose bracelets after a long, meaningful discussion, too.
Were there any particularly memorable moments or campaigns that really touch your heart?
Wulan: There’s this one moment that until this day has been unforgettable for me. One day, we’re on our way to do a “Journey of Hope,” which is what we call distributing the donations, in Malang. We went to children who are battling cancer and we asked them beforehand about what they wanted the most. Some said dolls, bicycle, etc. That day, we went there bringing what they wanted and there’s this one kid who wished for a bicycle since he was three years old – he was 8 years old then – and the look on his face when he finally got what he wished for is just heart-breaking. There’s hope in their eyes and we wish that it’ll encourage them to continue their treatments.
Amanda: In our journey of hope, we went to a “Rumah Singgah,” a nursing or transit home for underprivileged patients undergoing treatment all over Indonesia. All of them are memorable and touched our hearts. It’s what keeps us going. There was this one time where we went to a Rumah Singgah in Bandung, where the patients are children under 12 years old and we try to make their wishes come true. One of our biggest Journeys of Hope was one where we made our movie titled “I am Hope,” based on the stories of cancer patients that we met along the way. The movie was meant to spread awareness about cancer and to remind people that there is hope in all situations.
“As long as we have good intentions in creating something that will help others, no matter how hard it may seem, it will find its way.”
Your latest collaborative campaign, “Kasih,” is also supported by 113LIVE. How did you end up collaborating with the cycling community?
Janna: Apart from the enthusiasm we see for cycling during this pandemic, we also want to continue to inspire the spirit of hope and love for ourselves, our health and the environment through cycling, even in these difficult times.
How was the public reaction towards the campaign?
Amanda: The public reaction is really good. We sent out “Kasih” T-shirts to friends and family, public figures and people who we call “Warriors of Hope.” We launched campaigns through our social media channels and Flore Bastile also supported us with flowers that represent hope and love. We also did a “Cycling For Hope” event and various cycling clubs supported us without hesitation to raise hope and the spirit of sharing amid the pandemic.
If anyone wants to support this campaign, what is the best way to go about it?
Janna: If you want to support our movement, you can buy our T-shirt via our Instagram account which is @gelangharapan or our online shop, @gelangharapan, on Shopee and Tokopedia. All of our activities can also be followed on our website www.gelangharapan.com.
Gelang Harapan was established back in 2014. Since then, what have you learned from running the foundation?
Amanda: What we have learned so far in our seven-year journey of hope is that if you really want something, the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. As long as we have good intentions in creating something that will help others, no matter how hard it may seem, it will find its way. Janna, Wulan and I feel that we have found our true calling in managing Gelang Harapan.
Janna: We are now starting to be aware of the true meaning of hope. That in every situation there is always hope. As long as we have good intentions and are willing to try, it will always succeed and be a source of hope for ourselves and others.
What are your hopes and dreams for the rest of the year?
Janna: If vaccines prove to be effective and without contraindications, this pandemic could be behind us soon, restoring tremendous optimism and renewed hope for all of humanity. And we also hope that we can continue to spread hope, peace and love through our initiatives and creations.
Wulan: I hope that we and the world can adapt to the uncertainties of these times. I hope we can find a way so life can be full of hope once again and we can come out having learned good lessons.
Amanda: Since the pandemic has shown us how fragile life is and that we are all the same no matter what race or background we came from, I hope that people will be kinder to each other. I hope that people will be more grateful of each moment, more focused on taking care of themselves, their families and others, as well as taking care of the universe we live. I hope that the vaccines will be proven to be successful, and the human race can be closer together after sharing the same experience. For me, I hope that I can be a more grateful person, kinder towards myself, my family and others and always living in the present moment. I hope that I can continue spreading hope, love and kindness through our Bracelet of Hope movement in collaboration with individuals, personalities, foundations, companies or any entity who share the same mission, hopes and dreams in making a positive impact to a better world.