Guess what we were doing on Rinjani mountain

Dear friends around the world,

Did you know I have a good friend and student Ms. Valentina who has worked through innumerable challenges to establish Kechara Soup Kitchen ( Yayasan Kechara Indonesia) in Jakarta, Indonesia?! Please read here of her and wonderful friends’ accomplishments for the sake of the needy. I must say I am very proud of Valentina and I find her to be a very kind, giving, generous and honorable person. She does what she promises and takes NOTHING for herself. Nothing at all. She is a very responsible person and a good leader because she leads by her integrity. I asked her for this write up about the brave and compassionate climbers. I thank the climbers for their great efforts and I am glad you are all safely home. You are all really caring people with others in mind.

Yayasan Kechara Indonesia (Kechara Indonesia Foundation) was established on 15 June 2012 in the presence of a Notary Public in Jakarta. It was then officially registered on October 17, 2012 by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Indonesia.

Since then, it has marked the formalization of the good work that our Indonesian friends have been doing in their personal capacity over the last few years. One of them has been the fundraising efforts for their many humanitarian and spiritual activities.

2 weeks ago, 4 volunteers of Yayasan Kechara Indonesia climbed Mount Rinjani. Mount Rinjani is an active volcano and the 2nd highest volcano in Indonesia! Most of them have never climbed a mountain before, yet they decided to brave the harsh physical conditions to raise funds for their programs and administrative costs.

I rejoice for those who participated in this fundraising challenge. Instead of making an excuse of not having enough funding to continue their activities and to grow further, they find different creative ways and solutions. As they say, if it’s important to you, you’ll find a way! Below is an account written by one of the volunteers. Remember we all don’t have to climb an outer mountain, but scale our inner peaks of fear to do something for others. Do take a read…

Tsem Rinpoche

Kechara Indonesia Challenge 2014: Conquering Mt. Rinjani

In mid September 2014, 4 brave volunteers of Yayasan Kechara Indonesia (“Kechara Indonesia”) climbed Mount Rinjani (3,726m above sea level) to show their commitment and fundraise for Kechara Indonesia’s various philanthropic programs and administrative fund.

Kechara Indonesia is a non-profit organization dedicated to benefit families and communities from less fortunate economic background and to enable them to support themselves and their families by providing immediate necessities and sponsoring education regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. Kechara Indonesia was established by H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche’s student, Valentina Suhendra, who resided in Indonesia together with several of her friends.

Doing challenges to show commitment to Kechara Indonesia’s programs is a tradition that was started in year 2012. At the time, Valentina and several committed volunteers wanted to formalize their charitable activities into an NGO (“Yayasan” in Indonesian language).

YKI’s first challenge was initiated by Hau Shio Wei who volunteered to climb Mount Peclet (3,561m above sea level) in France in order to pay off a loan that was taken to fund the establishment of Yayasan Kechara Indonesia. It was a historic climb and Shio Wei managed finish the climb and spread Kechara Indonesia flag with its logo – Compassion Knows No Barrier at Mt. Peclet’s peak. Due to the success of this challenge, Valentina Suhendra managed to pay off her loan and establish Yayasan Kechara Indonesia.

Shio Wei’s success in the first challenge, inspired other committed volunteers to do similar challenges. Thus, in May 2013, five volunteers from Kechara Indonesia (i.e., Valentina Suhendra, Hau Shio Wei, Yudhono Rawis, Soo Woon Loong, and Hyang Augustiana) decided to climb Mt. Semeru to show our commitment to our charity work. This time, we managed to get several corporate sponsors such as KPMG Indonesia, Macrokiosk, and Syailendra Asia. The challenge was a success and the volunteers managed to complete the climb and spread the flag (and all the corporate sponsors’ flags) on top of this highest peak on Java island.

In line with this tradition, in September 2014, Shio Wei and several of her friends (i.e., Liew Kong Qian, Ray Astamangala, and Chee Hou) decided to take on a more challenging task, climbing Mount Rinjani which is higher than the previous mountains that Kechara Indonesia’s volunteers have attempted before. Many of Kechara Indonesia’s sponsors and other volunteers asked the reasons for taking such challenge and why these volunteers (many of whom have never attempted mountain climbing before) decided to take on such challenge. The followings are their heartwarming responses:

Shio Wei

Since I was a kid, my parent told me to learn how to live with kindness.

“Though it may seem that your kindness is not always appreciated, it does indeed have an impact every time. The less it seems to be appreciated, the more it is needed, and the more of a positive difference it can make.

Kindness is not something that becomes depleted when it is used. The more true, unconditional kindness you offer, the more you will have to offer, and the more there will be for everyone. I guess it has explained why I am always motivated to be a volunteer to hike for Yayasan Kechara Indonesia Fundraising Program since last 2 years…

I hope that everyone could practice to live and act with kindness, and the value of each action is multiplied many, many times over. Live with kindness and you live with the power to make a difference in every life you touch

Liew Kong Qian

Working in Jakarta [for] almost 2 years, and I had heard of Mt Rinjani a few times but I didn’t got any opportunity to go. And finally this year I have the push to climb this challenging mountain under YKI fundraising program.

I told myself if a charity is relying on me to do fundraising, I shouldn’t let them down. This will be an important element of compulsion to make myself continue with my training, which may even give me that extra motivation to complete the journey of my hike on the big day.

Ray Astamangala

I have been stayed in Jakarta [for] almost 10 years.. I was told [that] I am a funny, spirited, strong and kind. When I was invited to be a volunteer to hike for YKI fundraising program, I ask myself a question if I may look at the challenge and think: ‘What’s the purpose of actually challenging myself other than just getting to the peak of Mt Rinjani as I have conquer many mountains before?’. And I found the answer: raising valuable fund can be my very reason for reaching the peak this round. I like to make my time count for something by making a meaningful difference with it.

Chee Hou

hmm… I was thinking Instead of just letting life throw random challenges at me, I should go ahead and provide myself with truly meaningful challenges. As long as I have put in my very best effort working through all these tough training for the next few week in preparing myself for my ever first hike in my life, conquering Mt Rinjani in Lombok, it will definitely bring new value to my life.

Climbing a challenging mountain like Mount Rinjani is not easy. It is a serious challenge. Doing such challenging activities for the benefit of others definitely gives more courage to these kindhearted and brave individuals. When the climbers were being interviewed for this article, we could see that they are very happy and proud of their achievements. They shared many funny stories, described their fears when climbing, the challenges that they experienced such as having to forgo regular showers and sleeping difficulties and deprived them further from the much needed energy during the climb. Most importantly they are safe and happy. Kechara Indonesia is so fortunate to have such brave and kindhearted individuals as its members and contributors.

After the success of their challenge in Mt. Rinjani, Valentina met with the climbers and passed each of them a beautiful Buddha tza tza from H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. May the climbers be blessed by Buddha in this and all future lives and are always inspired to benefit others.

Kechara Indonesia is unique because of its people. In addition of being the first established foreign arm of Kechara organization, Kechara Indonesia team has demonstrated that they are creative, courageous, generous, and willing to go out of their comfort zones in order to continue to benefit others. Just like other normal people, they have their own fear and doubt. However, the realization that benefiting others in need is much more important has given them the courage and think of various creative ways to raise the much needed fund to continue their beneficial activities.

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Climbers after their Mt Rijani success. They met up for dinner and were presented with a tsa-tsa from H.E. Tsem Rinpoche.

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Courageous Shio Wei at Rinjani Peak.

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Walking on sand.

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Warm bonfire on a cold night.

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The journey.

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The journey on the steep slope.

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The journey.

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The faces of Kechara Indonesia climbers.

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The entrance.

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The climbers were assisted by porters.

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Surviving on headlights during the hike.

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Spreading Kechara Indonesia Flag during the hike. Kechara is on top of Mt. Rinjani!

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Our brave climbers.

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Kechara Flag at Rinjani Peak. I thank everyone who went on this climb for your efforts and I am glad you all made it safely back.

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Ms. Valentina Suhendra


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