Education is key to changing our society for the better.
Environmental education is in increasing demand, with more young people and adults pursuing natural studies than ever before. Conservation efforts are also ramping up, especially around Palangka Raya in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo; home to one of the largest population of orangutans anywhere on Earth.
The Orangutan Caring Scholarship (OCS) is awarded annually in collaboration between the University of Palangka Raya (UPR) Department of Forestry, Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF) Indonesia, and the Orangutan Republik Foundation (OURF). On Wednesday, 8th of June, this year’s intake of six students were awarded the OCS at the Peat Innovation Research Centre (PPIG), Palangka Raya.
OURF President, Gary Saphiro, told us he was impressed with the standard of this year’s OCS selection and heartened to see their enthusiasm. He hopes that the students can make the most of their scholarship funds as they continue through higher education.
“They must be able to carry out conservation activities to a very competitive standard and care deeply about wildlife,” he said.
Through his online remarks, CEO of BNF Indonesia, Juliarta Bramansa Ottay, confirmed that this activity will support broader efforts to protect Borneo’s orangutans. OCS recipients can transmit a degree of influence, bringing about innovative research collaborations to inform conservation management.
“After graduation, we hope that these students will retain a love of the environment, forests and, of course, orangutans throughout their lives.”
Meanwhile, the Dean of the UPR Faculty of Agriculture, Sosilawati, revealed that since OCS was first awarded in 2018 it has proven incredibly helpful for the faculty’s students, especially under the Department of Forestry.
“This year there were 14 students who entered the selection, but only 6 people passed and were entitled to OCS,” she said.
Sosilawati also anticipates that this OCS collaboration could form the basis for a conservation research centre in future. Students would benefit not just financially, but through enhanced learning opportunities “to save the forest and the animals in it,” she added.
One of this year’s OCS recipients, Beby Sulistya, explains that her interest in conservation began when she was still in high school, but she decided to apply for the scholarship as a means to help her parents via her academic achievements.
“Now I can dive deeper into the field of conservation and really channel my interests through OCS,” said the girl in the black hijab with sparkling eyes following the awards ceremony.
Beby also hopes that she can contribute actively and positively to orangutan conservation. “With OCS, I can work on becoming the best self I can be,” she concluded cheerfully.
By: Yohanes Prahara, Content Creator and Media Liaison BNF Indonesia