Hi, My name is Suzanne Turnock and for the past two months I have been funded by The Vodafone Foundation to work with SOS. I entered a competition called ‘Vodafone- World of Difference’, the prize was to work with a charity of your choice for two months and all wages are paid by Vodafone. I jumped at the chance and I knew straight away who I wanted to work with. I have been the Volunteer Fundraising Officer for The Great Apes Film Initiative (GAFI) since June 2009, SOS is one of GAFI’s partners and have worked together for the past 5 years.
I saw this opportunity as I chance to organise the SOS and GAFI Pedal Power Cinema project in Sumatra. So for the past two months I have been organising and fundraising for the project, based at the SOS UK headquarters in Oxford. One of my main goals was to organise a Pedal Power Cinema event in Oxford, to raise funds and to raise awareness about SOS and GAFI’s work. This event took place on the 10th March at Oxford Brookes University. Using Pedal Power Cinema, we screened Patrick Rouxel’s ‘Losing Tomorrow’, a poetical film on the habitat of orangutans and an insight into the logging industry in Indonesia and ‘Dear Mr President’, a short film created at the request of local communities in Sumatra. World renowned Conservationist, Ian Redmond OBE was our special guest speaker for the evening and David Smith, Olympic Athlete on the GB Rowing Team, started the pedalling for us. We also had a raffle, refreshments and merchandise for sale. From the feedback we have received so far, it seems like this was a really successful event and guests were interested and excited about using Pedal Power Cinema for conservation education.
During my time with SOS, I have been writing grant applications, liaising with the team in the field to organise the project and helping Helen out with the day to day running of SOS when needed. I also helped out with the SOS collection day in February at Victoria Station in London.
This project has the potential to expand on SOS’ conservation education programmes in Sumatra. The Pedal Power Cinema can be taken to remote communities, which often lack electricity and show wildlife films to local people, who may have never seen an orangutan or are not aware of the need to protect the critically endangered species. Film screenings attract large crowds, therefore providing a unique opportunity to deliver powerful and effective conservation messages as well as providing a platform for people to raise their conservation concerns. Once we have received the required funding for this project, it can begin.
I finished my two month placement with SOS on 12th March. I am really proud of what I have achieved in a small amount of time and I have enjoyed every minute of working with the SOS team. I chose SOS as I believed they are an organisation that works tirelessly, with passion and determination, to save the Sumatran orangutan and their habitat from extinction- and they proved me right.