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  • padi arranges productive and inspiring volunteer professional experiences with positive and lasting impact on students and businesses.

  • We seek organizations committed to Indonesia’s equitable and sustained prosperity, and students ready to be catalysts of positive change.

  • We promote the academic, professional and personal development of both volunteers and their mentors in a way that fosters collaboration, professional excellence, and high business ethics.

  • padi wants for everyone involved to feel they have done real work on a real problem and have had a positive impact on people and the environment.


Whether you are interested in business development, research, community organizing, technology, marketing or women empowerment,

we will find a place for you to learn and grow.   



  • We believe the integration of knowledge happens when we test theories, tackle real problems, learn to set goals and evaluate outcomes, learn to collaborate effectively, accept cultural differences, and build on common ground and best practices. In other words, we believe in experiential learning.

  • We believe in the sharing of knowledge and information and our human ability to transfer solutions and experiences from one country, one industry, one academic program, and one company to another. In other words, we believe more heads are better than one, and if someone has invented the wheel, there's little need to reinvent it. 

  • We believe many students have the skills and mindset that many organizations need. We also believe organizations have the business, management, and strategic experience that many students leaving college need to succeed. 

  • We are guided by our sincere desire to see more American and Indonesian students and professionals know each other, seek each other out and eventually grow lasting personal and professional relationships that transcend cultural and geographic barriers. 



We started padi in 2016 with three students from Georgetown University who came to work with the famous Pak Rhenald Khasali at Rumah Perubahan (House of Change) as a result of an initiative of Sofia Blake who wanted to find ways to bring Indonesian and American youth closer together and closer to outstanding Indonesian organizations and companies. That summer, one fellow volunteer worked on social entrepreneurship, the second one on early childhood education and our third intern worked with Wildlife Conservation Society to develop, among other things, a  database of endangered species.  order to give international students an opportunity to volunteer for two months in Indonesia, in the process, get to know it better and love its people. We later had a German student from TU Dortmund University’s Masters in Special Education, teach at an inclusive school in Jakarta and help build a curriculum for special needs children.


Since then we have had a growing number of inquiries from private corporations, foundations, and nonprofit organizations for more such exchanges. We have also heard from organizations based in the United States willing to host Indonesian interns. We have also had non-US universities and programs express interest partnering with organizations in Indonesia.


In 2017, we hosted 7 additional interns from three different universities, working on climate change adaptation, start-ups, stem cell, women empowerment and moderate Islam. Feel free to see their stories and work here.  


Co-founder & Executive Director

     Sara’s background is in Finance, but her passion is to take part in endeavors that make a difference. In addition to her position in Padi, Sara is currently the Managing Director and founder of PT Virtual Online Exchange (VOX), a financial technology start-up that aims to make financial services available to the bottom of the pyramid. She is also a Strategic Execution Consultant at Palladium where she is working on creating social and economic impact through the collaboration of government, business, and civil society.      


Previously Sara was Finance Director/ CFO of MCA - Indonesia, responsible for managing a USD 600 million grant from the US Government to reduce poverty in Indonesia. Prior to that, she spent 12 years of her career at ExxonMobil and Booz-Allen and Hamilton. Sara completed her MBA at the State University of New York at Buffalo, obtained her Bachelors from the Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia and recently completed a Fellowship with MIT in 2015. Sara is a proud mother of three boys and wife to Hario Dhewanto.

Kristin Lee Soeryadjaya

Co-founder & Program Director

     Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, Kristin moved to Indonesia in 2007 after she married her husband who is Indonesian.  

     Kristin earned her bachelor degree in Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 2001 and went on to work in Hong Kong, San Francisco, New York City and Singapore for various global advertising agencies focusing on the digital space.  

     Aside from her work with padi, Kristin regularly organises a variety of charity projects including youth community service initiatives, most of which center around foundations or organisations focused on education initiatives, refugees or women empowerment.  

    She has three young children and resides in Jakarta.  

Sofia Tcherckellova Blake

Co-founder & Senior Advisor

     Sofia lives in Washington, DC, grew up in Bulgaria and has lived in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.

     Sofia’s work in Indonesia has centered mainly on education and women empowerment. She's served as senior advisor at EducationUSA Mentorship Program and initiated a women program, 6x6 Women in Action. She is the author of “Journeys to the Heart” about women and change-makers in Indonesia.

    Previously, she has worked as an energy consultant in Washington DC.

    She has a Master’s in Political Science from L’Institut des Sciences Politiques, Paris, France, a Master’s from Georgetown University and a BA in International Relations from Brown University.               

    Currently, she is the founder of Studio SB, a college application coaching practice in Washington DC.  

Sara Dhewanto

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