Bridge - intended for people, used by orangutans!
Dear Global Givers,
How was your Earth Day? We hope it was as green as ours and thank you to all those who chose to give in honor of our planet! Since January, thanks to you, so much as happened for us here at Health In Harmony and at our project partner, ASRI.
Some of our biggest news is that ASRI has secured a construction permit for the new, expanded Community Health and Training Center to expand the healthcare and training services offered. This was a long process of working conscientiously with local authorities, and we are thrilled to begin construction this summer.
Daring dentist and ASRI co-Founder Dr. Hotlin Ompusunggu is raising funds for a dental wing in that new community health center, by running in the Borneo International Marathon, to take place on May 5th! We've been calling it the "Marathon For Molars." (And, earlier this year, as part of her ongoing dental education of the community, there was a toothbrushing competition for the local kids. See photo below.)
Meanwhile, reforestation has continued apace. In February, reforestation at Laman Satong was completed, placing over 7350 seedlings in a 2 hectare (about 5 acre) plot of previously degraded land about two hours away from Sukadana. Reforestation has also been completed at the Sederhan Corridor (a gap between two areas of forest near Sukadana, ASRI's home base) - over 5000 seedlings! - and orangutans have been glimpsed using the plank bridge put up for humans to use during reforestation - we are so excited that orangutans, which spend over 95% of their lives in the trees, will be even more able to travel between these previously isolated forest regions once the trees grow!
The highly popular sustainable agriculture (organic farming) training programs continue. An ex-logger attested personally to the effectiveness of the program, saying, "The truth is that five years ago we were all loggers. We usually got one crop of rice and the rest of the time we logged. Now no one in this village logs because we now get two or three crops of rice and are making money in other ways. When I think back to how poor we were then, its amazing the change now that ASRI has made in our lives. And now we know about how important it is to protect the trees that produce oxygen." Wow. What an amazing shift!
And it's not just anecdotal - ASRI staffer, Agus Supianto, confirmed with his most recent survey of the villagers that since the program's inception in 2007, we have gone from three to TEN non-logging villages out of the thirteen surrounding Gunung Palung National Park!
In news of other alternative sustainable livelihoods training, Goats For Widows continues its success with increased animal stewardship trainings and distribution of goats to even more widowed women. In late April, cross-global connection is continuing, with a delegation from Dining For Women (a giving circle spanning the United States that selected HIH as the featured program in September 2012) visiting ASRI! Photos soon to come.
PS - Our director Michelle, and volunteer manager Kari, are currently conducting our annual site visit to ASRI - Check out Michelle's blog posts at the HIH Blog! We'll be sharing photos too: try Facebook or Twitter for more updates.
Dr. Hotlin Ompusunggu training for the marathon
Tooth brushing competition
The Sederhan corridor, now reforested!