Regenerating Rainforests

by Health in Harmony
Play Video
Regenerating Rainforests
Regenerating Rainforests
Regenerating Rainforests
Regenerating Rainforests
Regenerating Rainforests
Regenerating Rainforests
Regenerating Rainforests
Regenerating Rainforests
Regenerating Rainforests
Regenerating Rainforests
Regenerating Rainforests
Midwife Vini and the Newborn
Midwife Vini and the Newborn

This story of hope and perseverance comes from Midwife Vini, one of the midwives working with rainforest communities in Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in Indonesian Borneo.

Mrs. S, 37 years old, was pregnant with her third child. At her last pregnancy check up, Midwife Vini advised the mother to deliver at the local community health center, as Mrs. S had several risk factors. She had a history of footling breech birthing conditions. Vini predicted that this would occur again with her third pregnancy.

She advised Mrs. S to have an ultrasound done at the health center before the delivery date. However, she never went to get an ultrasound done.

One night, in the early hours of the morning, Mrs. S’ husband came to the Nusa Poring Clinic to let Vini know that Mrs. S had gone into labor at home. She could not make the trip to the clinic due to her emergent labor. Vini immediately rushed to Mrs. S’ home in Mengkilau with her husband.

When she arrived, Vini found that Mrs. S’ water had broken and she was fully dilated. While conducting the pelvic exam, the midwife also felt the baby’s foot and part of its leg, instead of the head – another footling breech. This meant that the baby’s head could be stuck in the birth canal and was at risk of asphyxiation.

Midwife Vini quickly took action and called for a neighbor to take the mother to Menukung Health Center by car, as fast as possible. There, Mrs. S could receive the extra medical attention needed for a labor and delivery as high-risk as hers.

They left for the clinic at 1:30am. Even though it was not raining at the time, the road conditions from Mengkilau to Menukung are very poor, making it a long journey. Midwife Vini worked hard to keep the mother calm, hoping to avoid a breech delivery in the car.

After about an hour, the mother screamed and said that it felt like the baby had come out. Vini checked, and saw that the baby’s feet had been born.

Upon arrival to the health center, they discovered that there were no medical personnel at the Emergency Room. Vini called for another midwife who lives nearby to come assist with the birth.

Since the baby had already been partially born and due to the mother’s pain level, Vini and Mrs. S’ husband worked together with the limited medical equipment they had.

After a few minutes, the baby was born. For a few nerve-wracking seconds, the baby did not cry, as it had been stuck in the birth canal for a few minutes. Finally the baby called out!

The second midwife Vini sent for arrived after the birth and took care of the mother, while Vini looked over the baby.

Both the mother and the baby recovered well, thanks to Midwife Vini’s medical expertise and quick thinking. After spending a few hours under observation at the health center, Mrs. S, her husband, and their baby were able to return home.

The Newborn!
The Newborn!


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Our ASRI Teens planetary health education program is back!

After a several-month hold due to COVID-19, class is now being held again with strict health guidelines in place. Students are required to wear face masks, wash their hands frequently, and practice social distancing. On July 29, ASRI Teens traveled to Pampang Harapan Village to visit the landfill and reflect on waste and landfill pollution. The following features two students’ reflections on this visit.

A young woman who is 15 years old:

My trip today started from home to the ASRI Clinic to meet my friends, then we took the car provided by the ASRI staff. When I arrived at the landfill, the first thing I saw there was someone burning garbage. The land was blackened due to the ash from the burning, then it was surrounded by trees that had been cut down. I felt guilty for not having cared about it before. I saw a lot of garbage piles along the road, and they have a strong unpleasant smell. The puddles turned green because they were united with the garbage. If I could turn back time, I wouldn’t add to the burden of the universe by littering. I think many animals suffer because of this human act. Everyone [is] busy talking about the global warming crisis, but I think this is the real crisis. If we keep cutting down trees and littering, what will happen next? From now on, I will reduce the use of plastic, protect the environment, and encourage the surrounding community to care for the environment. If nature is awake, we [humans] will also get the positive impact. Surely we will be happy when we see a beautiful and clean view. If [we do not] take care of it, who else will?

A young woman who is 17 years old:

I was annoyed to see a burning tree when I got to the landfill. I think this happened because the local community did not know the impact of burning. Also, I certainly felt guilty. The garbage has piled up a lot, even though the landfill has not been [there] more than a dozen years. What will [happen] to the next generation? If this waste is not handled and left alone, it will be dangerous for living things. Especially if there is a flood, I think there will be lots of garbage scattered about. I also saw items that should still be fit for use, but were in the landfill. I thought of making an incinerator, which is a means of burning waste without air pollution, and utilizing its heat as electrical energy, such as [in] countries in Europe.


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Three former loggers from Pangkalan Jihing
Three former loggers from Pangkalan Jihing

As a part of Health In Harmony’s Conservation Stimulus Package to address the pandemic, we are ramping up efforts to buy back chainsaws. This package provides former loggers with financial support to create or grow their own sustainable businesses.

In Pangkalan Jihing, three loggers recently participated in our Chainsaw Buyback program: Pak Syamsir (logging since 2015), Pak Sariman (logging since 2012), and Pak Asri (logging since 2003). These community members had already started transitioning away from logging, but they were still occasionally renting their chainsaws to friends who wanted to log in Gunung Palung National Park (GPNP). The ASRI Medical Center's Forest Guardians and a park ranger approached them and told them about our Chainsaw Buyback program.

In the wake of COVID-19, these loggers decided to participate so they could receive additional support for their businesses: a coffee shop, animal husbandry business, and agroforestry business (fruit trees and vegetables).

In Pelerang, former logger Pak Idris decided to participate after a national park officer found him logging inside GPNP. The officer took the time to educate Idris on the impact that logging could have on his health at age 62, as well as how detrimental it is to the forest and the communities that live around it.

After thoughtful consideration and support from his wife, he decided to participate in our microenterprise program as the 56th participant and received 10 million rupiah in exchange for his chainsaw. With these funds, he will a start a new business. Idris has decided to open a small shop, with help from ASRI’s Chainsaw Buyback Coordinator in purchasing materials and items he would like to sell.

In Rantau Panjang, former logger Abdulah had been logging since he was 15 years old, in order to financially support his family. However, working with a chainsaw for the past 25 years has negatively impacted his health and posture: he cannot stand up straight due to constant back pain.

Abdulah was approached by the ASRI Forest Guardians with an opportunity to give up logging and still support his family through an alternative livelihood. At first, he was unsure due to so many orders for timber from outside sources. However, Abdulah finally decided to participate in the Chainsaw Buyback program and begin working in a new industry.

We are incredibly grateful for Mahardika Putra, ASRI Conservation Director, for sharing these stories from now-former loggers who live in and around Gunung Palung National Park.

We also appreciate our many donors, supporters, and followers who contributed to our COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which enabled us to make emergency healthcare and conservation programs like this one reality!

Pak Idris posing with his deconstructed chainsaw
Pak Idris posing with his deconstructed chainsaw
Former logger Pak Abdulah
Former logger Pak Abdulah


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Dr. Alvi
Dr. Alvi

Dr. Alvi is a doctor at ASRI, Health In Harmony’s cornerstone partner in Indonesia. He recently participated in a four-month professional exchange program at Yale University where he learned more about internal medicine and shared his knowledge of the connections between human health and the health of rainforests. His journey is a great example of partnership and planetary health in action. We hope this interview with Dr. Alvi inspires other physicians and institutions to see their practice in a new light.


I was inspired by my mom, a midwife, who dedicated herself to caring for people in an underserved area in West Java. Once, while performing a complicated delivery, her patient was diagnosed with eclampsia (life threatening hypertension in pregnancy). My mom struggled to find help due to a lack of human resources and tools. Thanks to her diligence, she was able to give the patient the correct initial management and then transfer her, in time, to a bigger facility. After that, I decided to pursue medicine, hoping to do my part to improve health regulations and make healthcare more accessible for all.


At ASRI, I discovered that human health and environmental health greatly impact each other. I also learned how to pilot a rural medicine project by working at ASRI’s second site near Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park – processes like surveying, Radical Listening, hiring, training, and more.


Doctors and other medical professionals have an important role in influencing and making change in society. By helping more professionals realize how much climate change impacts patient health, they will start to make a positive environmental and societal impact.


I participated in many studies and advanced procedures, including some new ones. The term “medical mystery” seems impossible to use in the U.S. because of the advanced testing available to diagnose patients. The opportunity to observe physicians performing diagnostic studies sharpened my clinical sense, since medical histories and physical exams are always confirmed by advanced testing. These experiences will help me establish a better standard of care now that I am back at ASRI.


This partnership has great potential. Many students at Yale were interested in learning about the methods that ASRI and Health In Harmony use, like Radical Listening, and our central approach – to address healthcare and conservation simultaneously. Doctors at ASRI now have full access to Yale’s medical library, some of the best resources for medical information and updates. Plus, physicians at Yale continue to share their medical knowledge with ASRI in unique ways – for example, an emergency medicine attendant recently video-chatted with ASRI doctors to discuss ultrasounds.


Did you face any challenges?

At the start of the exchange, it was challenging to master the differences in the U.S. medical record system compared to Indonesia’s. In the U.S., all medical information is processed within an electronic system; in Indonesia the system is paper-based. It was also challenging to understand American jokes and expressions, sometimes. Over time I adapted to these differences.

Are there any successes you are especially proud of?

I spoke about planetary health and climate change at the VA Hospital of Connecticut to physicians and residents. They were very interested in to learn about climate change and planetary health.

Do you have a favorite American food yet?

I tried some American food, such as New Haven pizza, deep dish Chicago style pizza, Philadelphia cheese steak – they are okay.


Now that I have returned to ASRI, I will maintain my relationship with Yale and continue to collaborate with them – especially in research and publications related to planetary and public health. Yale is a great place to study and I would like the chance to visit again the future.



Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

In late August, in partnership with eyewear company Essilor, ASRI organized three optometry clinics for the residents of Sukadana and nearby Melano and Siduk, all of which are located within the Kayong Utara Regency in West Kalimantan. Patients who attended were eligible for a free eye exam and a free pair of prescription and/or reading glasses. The clinics were in very high demand. Over 1,800 patients were served over three days.

The clinics were made possible through a partnership with France-based Essilor’s 2.5 New Vision Generation initiative, which aims to expand access to vision care to underserved populations around the globe.

The Mayor of Kayong Utara Regency, Citra Duani, who is very supportive of ASRI, attended the first clinic, which was held at ASRI’s headquarters in Sukadana. He delivered remarks that helped kick-off the three day event. He encouraged parents to protect children’s eyes by limiting their use of electronic gadgets. He pointed out that vision problems can limit children’s futures, e.g. if they are unable to meet the vision standards required to become a police officer.

Participants in ASRI’s planetary health education program for adolescents, ASRI Teens, were trained by Essilor staff to do basic eye exams. In addition to evaluating patients’ vision, they also helped with patient intake and clinic setup and cleanup. 

As part of Essilor’s partnership with ASRI, two local students and ASRI Teens participants, Rusli and Yuli, received scholarships that will fund three years of optometry school in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. After graduating, the students plan to return to the Kayong Utara Regency, hopefully to the ASRI medical center, to practice optometry and provide this vital service to the community. 

These clinics reached people from all walks of life. Patients were genuinely excited to get new glasses (or to get their first pair ever!), and many waited several hours to be seen. Clearly, the clinics met a real need in the communities of Sukadana, Melano and Siduk. The whole ASRI family came together to set up the clinics each day and to see as many patients as possible, despite considerable challenges, such as limited electricity in the Melano and Siduk clinic sites that made it impossible to evaluate patients after sundown. It was truly a team effort!

ASRI Teens scholarship recipients in blue jackets
ASRI Teens scholarship recipients in blue jackets


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Health in Harmony

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @HIHngo
Project Leader:
Devika Agge
Portland, Oregon United States
$53,572 raised of $75,000 goal
1,115 donations
$21,428 to go
Donate Now
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Health in Harmony has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.