The Leuser Nature School, built in memory of our founder Lucy Wisdom, has been set up to incentivise farmers to become guardians of the forest. The school provides free education for farmers' children in exchange for their active involvement in forest restoration and protection efforts. The school is oversubscribed and the classrooms are now too small for all the pupils enrolled. We need to raise money to build a new classroom and enable the school to keep reaching all the children who need it.
We cannot tackle the decline in orangutan numbers without taking a holistic approach to ensuring that existing forest habitats are safe and that local people are empowered to protect orangutans and their ecosystems into the future. Bukit Mas, North Sumatra, is a 100 hectare plot of land on the edge of the Leuser Ecosystem. Once a lush, biodiverse jungle, a few years ago the area was cleared and replaced with rows of oil palms. We are working to reclaim the site for wildlife, with local support.
Sekolah Alam Leuser, or Leuser Nature School, incentivises local farmers to become guardians of the forest by providing free education for their children in exchange for their active involvement in forest restoration and protection efforts. There are no other secondary schools in the area, making it extremely expensive and challenging for families to send their children to secondary school. Leuser Nature School therefore fills a vital gap in education provision.
In its first year, the school had 16 pupils enrolled, with their parents simultaneously supported to access sustainable farming methods and learn about protecting the forest. A further 20 pupils enrolled for the academic year 2019-2020 - a further 20 children and families who are benefitting from greater access to education and will therefore feel a growing affinity with the forest environment around them.