Seeds of Hope: Caritas Australia tackling deforestation in Indonesia

Tati on the veranda of the eco-tourism project long house showing a woollen orangutan doll she made to sell to tourists. Photo: Richard Wainwright.

Deforestation is an ongoing challenge in many parts of the world, but through Caritas Australia’s partnership with local communities, forests are being preserved and made economically as well as environmentally sustainable.

Tati is a Dayak woman, living in Indonesia’s forest of West Kalimantan. Like all Dayak people whose values and culture are deeply linked to the rainforest, Tati’s family has relied on it for sustenance for generations.

Her community is committed to protecting its rainforest for the future and is working with Caritas

Australia, part of the Caritas International network as well as local authorities, to develop alternative sustainable livelihoods. This enables  the community to develop a strong financial base and take the lead in managing land, as well as making decisions on how that land is used.

Her remote village lies deep in the rainforest, and can only be accessed by barely passable roads. Communication is difficult and the electricity produced by a small hydro-electric installation provides limited supply to the village.

Tati lives with her husband and two of her three

children, aged 8 and 16. Her two youngest children go to school nearby while her 19-year-old son lives in a rented room 60 kilometres away, so he can be near his school. The family pays for his living-away-from-home expenses, in addition to providing for school expenses.

Although Indonesia has made enormous gains in poverty reduction in recent years, over 28 million Indonesians still live below the poverty line, with around 40 percent of its population vulnerable to falling into poverty.

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Caritas Australia, with its partners Caritas Indonesia – KARINA and the Diocesan Caritas are working with local communities to create new hope for a better future, by helping teach local people English and long-term, sustainable eco-tourism activities.

Your donation through our six-week Lenten fundraiser, Project Compassion, allows can help communities like Tati’s for generations to come by shoring up environmentally and economically sustainable sources of income. Visit lent.caritas.org.au.

Source: Caritas Australia

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