Monday, 25 January 2010

Visit to ROLE

A couple of weeks ago we received an e-mail from ROLE Foundations Eco Learning Centre in Nusa Dua. ROLE have leased 1 ½ hectares of land down on the Bali bukit, and they want to use this area in an educational manner, working with the poor and disadvantaged. They are focusing on education and creating eco-friendly job and business opportunities, locals to make a comfortable income, without destroying the environment. ROLE has invited SOS to be a part of their education area on de-forestation which will focus on taking the pressure off natural resources, while reviving the health of the environment through awareness and assistance. The area of land they have available is in an amazing part of Bali, right between Nusa Dua and Uluwatu, and with great views across the peninsula. We are currently putting together an information pack for them and waiting eagerly for the learning centre to open later this month.

Good luck guys, looking forward to working with you!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Lucy Wisdom, SOS Founder, sadly passed away

Last month Lucy Wisdom, founder of SOS sadly lost her longstanding battle against cancer.
Lucy was working as a performance artist in Europe in 94, when a holiday to Indonesia to recuperate from cancer treatment unexpectedly changed her life.
On a visit to a rehabilitation centre for endangered Sumatran Orangutans, she found herself overwhelmed with the desire to help. For the next three years, Lucy visited Sumatra regularly as a volunteer to help orphaned ex-captive orangutans return to the wild. In 1997, Lucy set up SOS to raise funds and awareness about threat of logging to the orangutans disappearing habitat. Despite the constant political instability in Indonesia and the onset of secondary cancer three years ago, Lucy refused to give up the fight for the island’s estimated 6.600 wild orangutans.
Lucy founded the Orangutan Information Centre (OIC) in Medan In 2001, along with Panut Hadisiswoyo, to promote awareness of environmental and orangutan conservation issues amongst local communities living in North Sumatra and Aceh.
Her passion landed her the UK’s Women in Ethical Business Award in 2008 and saw her appear in the hero of the month pages of magazine Marie Claire.
Here in Bali we had a gathering celebrating her life where all her friends came together to reminisce her, and hold a Balinese ceremony.
Lucy will be much missed by all her friends and SOS who will continue her legacy by working to save the Sumatran orangutan and end deforestation in Indonesia.
Thank you Lucy for all your hard work

You can reach Lucy's tribute page by clicking here.


Thursday, 7 January 2010

Balinese wedding ceremony

Being a volunteer in a foreign country should always be more than just sitting in an office. It should be about making new friends and experiencing a different culture. Luckily for me this is easy in Bali, where the locals are superfriendly, and especially being based in Ubud, which is known as the cultural heartland of Bali. So it was with great anticipation and a big smile on my face I accepted an initiation to my colleague – Widi‘s- wedding.
In Bali it is customary to have two separate ceremonies for a wedding, first there is a ceremony in the place where the couple will be living (usually with the groom’s family), then a second one saying goodbye to the old home (usually the bride’s family) and so it was his time as well. Weddings start early here, and at 8.30 we where in the office trying on our new outfits. That is, having someone else dress us as if we where small children, in order not to loose our sarongs or otherwise make a cultural fau paux. For us girls this was not an issue as we work with another female, the boys on the other hand had to poke their heads out the office and ask around until a male staff member of our neighbouring restaurant would help them. Anyway, we eventually got dressed and headed out on our scooters to the small village where the first ceremony would be held. Over the course of the day we made some great new friends, learned about the importance of family relationships, and were fed loads of yummy foods before the ceremonies ended. We never made it to the second ceremony at the bride’s family house, already being knocked out by the intense heat and the massive amounts of rice and whole roasted pork so duly headed back to the office and our SOS duties.
It was all in all a great experience and I wish Widi all the luck in the world now that she is starting a family on her own.
Thank you very much for including us on your special day!


Monday, 4 January 2010

Happy New Year!

First of all Happy New Year, or Selamat Tahun Baru, as we say here in Bali!
A bit belatedly as I have been visiting gorgeous Lombok over the holiday.
I wont go on about that, instead let me tell you about some of the stuff SOS did in the time leading up to Christmas and NY. We were invited to the Bali International School (BIS) down in Sanur to attend their annual Christmas Bazaar. With two days till the bazaar was taking place, we got to work. We already have a lot of merchandise for and heaps of information to bring to these things. Though to draw the kids’ attention to our stall, we had to crank it up a notch so we quickly built a tombola and packed the orangutan suit.
A couple of days before we had another volunteer join our team, so in total there were five of us heading down. In both Norway and England tombola’s are a part of every faith or bazaar, but here in Bali this was a foreign concept to most. Therefore we quickly found ourselves chatting away to old and young, explaining what to do and how the money we raised goes towards saving the Sumatran orangutans and their rainforest home. We had some nice prizes up for grabs, including a stay for two in a plush hotel and were happy to see a young couple on holiday win this.
All in all it was a pretty good day, we met loads of interesting people – including some of the pupils who are currently studying rainforest conservation and working towards buying a big patch of rainforest. We are hoping to start a pilot scheme with BIS where we will work with some of the pupils on a regular basis and educate them about their Indonesian rainforest. Hopefully this is something that can go on for years to come and in several different schools once we have enough resources to keep this going.

Ok, I hope you all have a lovely 2010- hopefully we will be able to spread the word about the orangutans even further this year.


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