TRI Handkerchiefs: A mission to protect Indonesia’s forests

Supporters Blog

Written by: Annisa Fauziah (from TRI Handkerchiefs)

Hi! My name’s Neo, a young orangutan made of cotton, knitted wool and love. I was born in Borneo and was adopted by a boy named Ben and his dad, Tim, and they brought me to Bali, their home. Bali is a very beautiful island, and Ben and Tim are amazing people who care for me, my friends and my home.

My name is Neo

Let me introduce you to their super cool project called ‘TRI Handkerchiefs’ aiming to protect Indonesia’s forests. Are you wondering how a handkerchief can help protect Indonesia’s forests? Here are the answers; first, when it started in June 2016 by Ben, he was in 9-grade in Green School Bali, he thought handkerchiefs could be a cool way to reduce wasteful paper tissue consumption. Wasting tissues means trees being unnecessarily cut down, right? But as the project advanced, he and the team realised that the handkerchiefs had even more potential. Then second, TRI ‘chiefs have become a powerful vehicle to communicate widely in an engaging way about an urgent issue that affects all living things on Earth: deforestation. Three, TRI is raising awareness and funds. Using the profits from the sale of the handkerchiefs and sponsorships, TRI support my human friends in Borneo and Sumatra, the grassroots organisations who are working to protect our Earth’s precious trees, peatlands, and my orangutan families and friends.

It’s not just that! Let me tell you 5 fun facts about TRI Handkerchiefs:

  1.  It’s inspired by Tri Hita Karana, a Balinese philosophy which taught us to have three connections; with God, people and nature.
  2.  Each handkerchief display tourist maps that advertise the best places to eat, stay, shop, and many other activities.
  3.  TRI Handkerchiefs are made with 100% upcycled retired bedsheets, donated by sponsoring hotels in Bali.
  4.  It has multiple uses and super fashionable too!
  5.  TRI is the only handkerchief in the world that educate people while stopping climate change in its tracks.


1. TRI handkerchiefs

The TRI Handkerchiefs!


So, I made a trip back home to Borneo to meet my family and friends to spread the news and help expand this social enterprise!

Touch down Palangka Raya!

Yes! I arrived in Palangka Raya, a city with friendly humans who I always miss! Before I met my orangutan family, I decided to meet some of my human friends in this city. I met Shinta and Roro with their Ranu Welum team. They are a community of young Dayak leaders who stand for Borneo and its people, using media as a tool for advocacy. We talked and shared a lot of things, they showed me some short movies they’ve made, the magazines, and pictures of their activities. They have been helping to train firefighting teams, which is very important for prevention of fires in the peatland forest. They felt so thankful because TRI Handkerchiefs have become one of their donors to keep up their work of helping the community and telling the world about what is really happening in Borneo.


Neo in Palangka Raya Neo with Ranu Welum
Neo in Palangka Raya
These youths are priceless!


Then I went to the Borneo Nature Foundation office and met the team. Suzi (from the Communications Team) told me almost everything about the organisation and what the team is doing. She showed me some videos from the camera traps in the Sabangau Forest. So many amazing beautiful cute lovely faces of my friends were captured on their forest camera traps! She also explained about the dam building project that BNF is working on to re-wet the peatland to restore the ecosystem and safeguard it against burning. On behalf of BNF, she thanked TRI Handkerchiefs for the help they are giving to build more dams and block man-made canals in Sabangau. And on behalf of TRI, I felt so blessed to have BNF doing such an amazing job for my home and my family!


Neo at BNF Office 5. Neo with BNF

A very comfy place to work on protecting peatland forest and I made new friends here!

8. Neo with Ransel Buku

Look at those smiley faces, I’m in love with them!

The last grassroots organisation I visited was Ransel Buku in Petuk Katimpun. They are a group of humans who bring environmental education to underserved children in remote riverside villages in Central Kalimantan. I met Aini Abdul and Ferry the amazing co-founders of this amazing project! I was so happy to see the human kids were having a high desire to learn and could read so many educational books with good facilities. And the best thing for me was Ransel Buku has a floating library! With TRI funds, Ransel Buku’s boat is now able to reach over 400 underserved children in 5 remote riverside villages.




8a. TRI Pky team

Left to right: Karin, Prayit and Yun, the next TRI heroes

After visiting these three organisations which TRI support, I met with three humans to talk how to expand this social enterprise in Borneo. They will help TRI to build a Palangka Raya and Central Kalimantan map to be printed on our new design handkerchiefs!

After spending 2 days in Palangka Raya, I packed my bag and headed to my home. I missed my family so much! From Palangka Raya, it took an hour and half ride on a scooter and then another hour on the boat down the river to get to my home.




9. Neo on the boat 9b. Neo met his old friend 10. Neo talk to his uncle
Had been longing for this brown-greenish view! So happy to see Boni here! We talked along the way! Met Bob, my fierce uncle! Been missed him a lot!


So yeah, I reunited with my uncles, aunties, cousins and others at home and I told them about TRI! Everybody was so happy to know that TRI Handkerchiefs is here in the world doing something to help stop deforestation. I was so glad to see that my family and friends still survive and are healthy while so many other orangutans and other species have bad luck. Here in Borneo, many of my family lost their home, burned, arrested, traded and even killed by human. It is always so much pain for me to remember what happens to them and it is even still happening. I hope one day, we all could have the earth as more beautiful place for everyone, for animals, for humans, and protect each other harmoniously with the trees standing as the guardian. Together, we can take a stand against deforestation and the devastating impact it’s having on endangered species and climate change. Together we can make a difference, so let’s start with ourselves to change.


11. Neo on a plane

Till I see you again, Borneo!

#AdventureofNeo #ChiefsforChange


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