2014 Borneo Orangutan Caring Scholarships Awarded

The Orangutan Caring Scholarship (OCS) program was established in 2006 as a collaborative program of the Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) and two Indonesian implementing organizations: Yayasan Orangutan Sumatra Lestari — Orangutan Information Center (OIC) on Sumatra and Yayasan Palung (YP) in West Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). Orangutan Outreach has been supporting the endeavor for several years and we are thrilled to introduce this year's grantees of the Bornean Orangutan Caring Scholarship. Kudos to all involved— especially the students who have worked so hard and come so far!

The 2014 Borneo Orangutan Caring Scholarships were given out on May 28 in Ketapang and the ceremony was attended by government and university officials as well as Yayasan Palung staff, the recipients and other esteemed guests. Mrs. Mariamah Achmad (Mayi) from Yayasan Palung opened the ceremony, and brief presentations were given by Dr. Gary Shapiro, Founding Director of OURF and creator of the OCS program, Mr. Tito Indrawan (from Yayasan Palung) and one of the judges on the selection panel. Four students from West Kalimantan (Hanony Rafika Sari, Riduan, Petrus Yendri, and Sumihadi) signed the scholarship contracts with the implementing organization representatives. Part of the conditions for all scholarship recipients to receive annual funding is to provide annual reports and to show proof of attendance in good standing each year.

To date, the Orangutan Caring Scholarship program has provided 77 students with opportunities to attend the University of Medan, University of North Sumatra, University of Syiah Kuala, STIK Pante Kulu, National Islam University Ar-Raniry, and University of Tanjungpura in the fields of biology, forestry and veterinary science. Of these students, 25 have graduated and have gone on to graduate school or jobs in conservation, education, veterinary medicine, and business in the private and public sector. All have become advocates for orangutans— having done volunteer work for the various implementing NGOs and understanding that their academic future was, in a large part, aided by a scholarship given to them in the name of the endangered orangutan.

The continued success of the Orangutan Caring Scholarship depends on contributions from donors like YOU! Please consider funding future scholarships. Each four-year scholarship costs approximately US $1500, which includes tuition, research write-up and administrative costs. Individuals can help fund a single or partial scholarship. Organizations, including nonprofits, family foundations, companies, religious institutions and schools, can also participate in this valuable program. Please contact us if you'd like to learn more and support the OCS program. Please make a donation today!

The current and new grantees are:

Rinta Islami was born on February 25, 1995 in Sandai. Rinta is a student in the Forestry Faculty, University of Tanjungpura, and the grantee of Borneo Orangutan Caring Scholarship in 2012. She likes sports and aspires to be a career woman. Rinta, who graduated from SMA Negeri 1 Sandai believes that people's dependence on forests for timber and agricultural lands are still quite high, and this has led to the destruction of orangutan habitat. Government policies related to conservation need to be more concerned with the welfare of society so that people are more willing to participate in conservation— including the conservation of orangutans. According to Rinta, the government should undertake equitable development, promote education about the importance of forests and orangutans as well as improve the utilization of non-timber forest products for society.

Risa Aprilia was born on 26 April 1995 in Ketapang. She is the youngest of three sisters. The grantee of Borneo Orangutan Caring Scholarship in 2012 has hobbies such as drawing and writing blogs. She aspires to be a professional teacher and entrepreneur. According to Risa, one of the barriers to orangutan conservation is that people's dependence on forests is still high while their economic level is still low. She believes the government and the private sector must create field employment and community empowerment for local people. Currently, Risa studies at the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education in Teacher Education Primary School, With her knowledge Risa wants to be part of Orangutan conservation.

Hendri Gunawan, born in Ketapang on October 6, 1993, is the eldest of two siblings. Since high school, he has paid for his own living expenses because his parents had passed away. In order to realize his dream of becoming a student of environmental law, he is now attending college at the Faculty of Law, University of Tanjungpura with financing from Borneo Orangutan Caring Scholarship Program in 2013. When at SMAN 2 Ketapang, he served as the chairman of nature lover student organization. According to Hendri, the biggest obstacles to orangutan conservation are the lack of awareness and a lack of understanding of the importance of orangutan and habitat conservation. He believes it is critically important to raise awareness of the situation in ways that are easily understood by the local communities.

Muhammad Muhlis Saputra, was born in Tanjung Pelanduk on March 13, 1994. He comes from an underprivileged family and his father passed away when he was young. In order to go to college, Muhlis applied for a Borneo Orangutan Caring Scholarship in 2013 and won. Currently, Muhlis studies at the Faculty of Forestry, University of Tanjungpura. He is considering media-related work (cameraman, presenter, director) and is also thinking about becoming a forester and/or a successful motivator. Muhlis believes that the obstacles to orangutan conservation are the absence of special attention from the government for orangutans and the conversion of forest to other functions such as oil palm plantations. He believes we all have to start moving to save the remaining orangutans and their habitat by instilling an attitude of love for nature and the environment among the young generation of Indonesian children.

Petrus Yendri was born in Batu Bulan, a village in Ketapang district on 10 September 1995. His father passed away when he was a child. His mother and siblings live in the village of Batu Bulan while Yendri has ben living in Ketapang in a foster home since junior high. Yendri likes the internet and traveling, and is also very fond of outdoors activities. When in SMA Pangudi Luhur St. John, he was listed as a member of the student nature lovers club. His dream is to become a teacher in order to help the people in his village maintain their forests. According to the grantee of the Borneo Orangutan Caring Scholarship in 2014, the biggest obstacles to orangutan conservation are poor law enforcement of those who commit crimes against orangutans, and the conversion of orangutan habitat into palm oil plantations. In 2014, Yendri will attend the University of Tanjungpura Faculty of Social Sciences and Administration, majoring in Communication Studies.

Sumihadi, the youngest of four siblings, was born in a village named Nango in the sub-district Sandai Ketapang on May 6, 1994. Sumi, as she is called, has always been the top graduate from elementary to high school. With these accomplishments she is entitled to a free education and this allowed her to continue to attend school despite her family's economic hardship. Her father passed away when she was a child and her mother is a farmer with a low income. Sumi enjoys reading and traveling, and also likes studying living things and the environment. Her aspiration is to be a researcher, and with her skills she hopes can improve the quality of the environment that is currently in decline. According to Sumi, peoples still have very little knowledge about the importance of orangutan conservation, so it is necessary to educate and raise awareness in the community so people will get involved and participate in addressing environmental issues and orangutan conservation. In 2014, Sumihadi will study at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences Department of Biology, University of Tanjungpura.

Riduwan was born on July 20, 1995 in Podo Rukun village, sub-district Seponti, Kayong Utara District. He has 4 siblings from a farmer's family. Hobbies of the grantee of Borneo Orangutan Caring Scholarship in 2014 are playing badminton, travelling and fishing, and he aspires to work in the field of forestry. He hopes to apply the knowledge gained during his education to help the local community and is involved in the conservation of orangutans Kalimantan and their habitat. In 2014, he will study at the Faculty of Forestry, University of Tanjungpura.

Hanony Rafika Sari was born on December 5, 1995 in Batu Barat, which is one of the villages bordering with the Gunung Palung National Park. Located in the Kayong Utara District, this village until now has had no electricity. Hanony is the youngest of three siblings. Her hobby is traveling and she aspires to be a biology teacher and an expert in plants. She believes the main obstacles to orangutan conservation are a lack of public awareness about the importance of the forest and the conversion of orangutan habitat to oil palm plantations. According to Hanony, we all should continue to do outreach to the community about the importance of conserving orangutans, forming community groups to conserve orangutan and creating an orangutan rehabilitation area. Hanony will continue her education at the Forestry Faculty, University of Tangjungpura this year (2014). In the future, she wants to apply the knowledge to bring progress to her district and local communities.

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