youth environmentalist,

Tari sets out plants in the Sensory Garden

Inspired by the garden that she visited in the United States , Tari began  the Sensory Garden Project at her school, Bandung School for the Vision-Impaired. It is the first sensory garden built in a school and  has become a trusted model for other special schools throughout Indonesia.  Tari was a participant in the Indonesia-US Youth Leadership program and despite her disability, participated fully in the program activities and the follow on project requirements at her own school.

She said “During the host family phase in the U.S., my host parent took me to the community garden. She was introducing me to many different plants by reading the information label on each plant while letting me to touch and smell it. I never visited a garden with such labels before, and it was not only nice but also made me excited to learn more about plants and the environment. I believe my friends and all school members would feel the same, how can we preserve the environment if we even don’t have an access to get to know it? So, providing a garden with braille labels at our school could be the first step to introduce the environment.”

Tari and fellow student work around plants in eco-environment

Personal Goals

Her first goal was to introduce nature and environment to everyone at her school in  a simple and accessible way by providing an eco-educative garden for all school members. She hopes the Sensory Garden will be an environmental learning media and access for students to get to learn about nature. She recruited six volunteers from her class and presented her project plan to school administrators. She spread her plan to entire school by leading a project presentation in 12 classes and sharing her story about her U.S. experiences .

Tari has focused on aromatic plants or plants with texture, mostly flowers and herbs, so everyone can recognize each plant by touch, smell, as well as by reading the braille label for different kinds of plants and identifying their use. Together with six volunteers, she planted more than 60 local flowers, herbs and other plants.

In addition, she recorded an environmental theme song called “Keindahan Alam” or Nature’s Beauty. She created the lyrics based on her own idea, with a message  to encourage people to maintain the environment and to appreciate what nature has provided.

Listen to her song, click arrow to play. (translation below)[mp3player width=200 height=35 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml file=]

Tari delivered the main purpose of her project, to encourage youth action in preserving the environment”, at the first Eco-Leadership Seminar held at her school. All students and teachers enthusiastically participated in this seminar.


Learning about aloe plants by touch and smell

Overcoming Obstacles:

Tari’s largest challenge in developing her environmental projects,  was  in convincing her peers that disability is not a barrier to a person’s ability to  initiate community action. She solved it by starting the action by herself and showed them her path to success. She gained confidence to speak in public, expressing her opinions and new knowledge in identifying many different plants. Her school principal has shared her project and urged other students to follow Tari’s example and to be more creative and motivated to reach their future goals without hesitation.

Tari’s creativity and her humble way in approaching people, easily brought her support for her project as well as sponsors and funding; everyone enthusiastically helped her. She accomplished all her project goals in providing an eco-educative garden,  to help others to to learn about plants,  and to increase awareness about maintaining the environment. More than 40 high school students and all school administrators participated in the Eco-Leadership seminar and Sensory Garden launching.

Over 60 different local plants and flowers in Tari’s Sensory Garden

Natural Realm (Keindahan Alam)

Composed by Eha Lestari (Tari) copyright 2013

splendor of natural realm
fresh jasmine flowers scenting
Birds are singing
beautifully complete it all

carpet of green grass laying
breezy breeze blowing
Mountains are high
a sea wave hissing on the beach

clouds are white, as jasmine
blue sky, as ocean
Nature provides beauty
Nature provides felicity


Friends, please be aware
this environmental beauty
should invariably preserve, eternally…
Friends, please remember
this is God’s master-piece
the best gift of all, for our kind

the rain and all virgin forests
breezy, beauty and charming
gardens, farms and ocean
full of His blessing

clouds are white, as jasmine
blue sky, as ocean
nature provides beauty
nature provides felicity

*back to refrain