Butet Manurung, 2022 Barbie Role Model award recipient She’sadoll

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Butet Manurung
Butet Manurung. Photo: INSTAGRAM@BUTETMANURUNG

Jakarta, IO – In commemoration of International Women’s Day, children’s toy manufacturer Mattel has named Saur Marlina Manurung, more famously known as “Butet Manurung” as “Barbie Role Model 2022”. Butet Manurung will thus receive a One of A Kind (OAAK) personalized doll resembling her – it’s the only one of its kind in the world. Launched in 2015, the Barbie Role Model is an initiative that consistently celebrates the profile and stories of great women around the world, as an inspiration for girls to pursue their dreams, reminding them they can be anything they want. 

“As a brand with a mission to inspire girls, Barbie acknowledges great women as girls’ role models,” explained Lisa McKnight, Barbie Senior Vice President and General Manager. 

“Today, women around the world play essential roles in various fields, and through Barbie, we are proud to present this award to these role models in the real world, as a reminder to all girls that they can be anything they dream of,” she added. 

Barbie Role Model plays an essential role in the global Dream Gap Project initiative which was launched to support girls to be whatever they want, through “You Can Be A Champion for Change”. This was the rationale for choosing Butet Manurung as a role model representing the Female Founder , breaking boundaries and contributing to education for indigenous peoples in Indonesia. 

Butet Manurung is already well-known in an international realm. She initially joined a conservation organization that runs an education program for the Rimba tribe, an indigenous people who live in the Jambi forest. Feeling the need to do more, Butet, along with several of her colleagues, founded the Sokola Institute in 2003. Today, this nonprofit organization has successfully developed contextual education curricula for 17 indigenous tribes spread across Indonesia and opened literacy access for more than 15,000 children and adults. 

But she has a different view of role models in her life. For her, role models are not a reflection or end goal but a positive catalyst in pursuing one’s dreams and aspirations. “For me, having a role model doesn’t make me want to be like that person, but rather appreciate how they can open my heart and inspire me to be the best version of myself,” explained Butet Manurung. 

Having a great admiration for her father, who is strong-willed and consistently pursues his dreams, allowed Butet to grow into a person who likes challenges and has an adventurous spirit. “Since I was a child, I loved reading adventure storybooks. My dad often reminded me that they were just fiction. I told him that someday I would be a real one,” said Butet. 

OOAK dolls are specially designed to resemble the selected profile in their likeness. It also applies to the OOAK doll dedicated to Indonesia Barbie Role Model 2022 Butet Manurung. Using two different patterned fabrics wrapped around like a top and bottom representing Butet’s daily clothes, while teaching at Sokola Rimba. The top cloth uses a prevalent pattern among the people of Jambi, namely the Angso Duo, which reflects the local folk legends. 

In addition, the doll is decorated with accessories inspired by sembelik sumpah, a traditional necklace from Jambi, and sandals that complement the daily appearance of Ibu Guru Butet, as her students at Sokola Rimba call her. As for the hair, it is rolled up to form a typical Butet Manurung bun. 

Butet Manurung is a female figure who inspires many people and has even won international awards, such as the 2001 UNESCO “Man and Biosphere Award,” the 2004 “Hero of Asia” from TIME Magazine, to the 2014 “Asia Nobel Prize Ramon Magsaysay Award”. The Barbie Role Model 2022 completes her journey to continue breaking the boundaries to provide liberating education that can upgrade the quality of life of indigenous peoples in Indonesia. (rp)