Jonas works in one of the world’s marine wonders, Raja Ampat in West Papua, Indonesia – but his heart knows that social justice and environmental conservation go hand-in-hand. His project therefore aims to build a safe learning centre to provide free education to children and teens, through his Child Aid Papua Foundation. Here, Jonas believes that local communities – many of whom have not benefitted from tourism and rapid development – will have a chance to learn about and understand their changing world. He wants to empower young people with skills to help implement their own change and direction.
As a young boy I often went camping with my family. I loved being by the sea and the feel of its open silence, infinite depth, absolute unknown and enormous power. Above all, though, I was fascinated by the ocean’s raw, incredible beauty.
After completing my studies in business economics and several years in a managerial position at an international company, I felt my roots pulling me back. While travelling in some of the most remote areas of West Papua in Indonesia, I met many people facing huge challenges on a daily basis. The challenges seemed to me to be due...
That children and adolescentsin Raja Ampat have the right to education and health-care, at the same time as developing a deep understanding of the importance of protecting the environment.
The nature of Raja Ampat is amazingly beautiful, both on land and underwater. This paradise is also known to be the home of the richest marine biodiversity on earth. It is no wonder mass tourism has come here for years now. Even though economic development growth has been rapid, the same cannot be said for education and health-care development. The indigenous people are still struggling for opportunities for a better life, especially those who live far away from tourism centres. Sadly, tourism also brings negative impacts for the environment.
Child Aid Papua wants to be part of solution in tackling these issues. Lack of education means that people here cannot compete with those from outside the area because more jobs go to the people who have higher education and skills. The ability to speak in English is the most important skill. Child Aid Papua aims to create this learning centre for kids and adolescentsas a place they can gain the knowledge and skills requiredfor the future so they are able to have a role in their own area. We also want to create environmental awareness within the children and adolescentsby fostering a love towards Mother Nature inside their hearts. Child Aid Papua believes that the more we know, the more we understand and grow love toward something, the more we are willing to conserve and protect it.
The learning centre is a big step for Child Aid Papua in making a difference for the future generation of Raja Ampat. Hopefully it can be the light for them to have a brighter future – just like our Indonesian name, Cahaya Anak Papua. The impact will not only be for human development in the area but also the environment.
Child Aid Papua Foundation was established in 2018 by people who fell in love with the children, adolescents and nature of Raja Ampat. Even though the foundation itself is new, the founders have been living together with the community and teaching in the area for the last four years. Facts and stories from our daily livesgive us the will to do more for the indigenous people here, focussing especially on the younger generations.
Beside the poor equitable development, lack of education also exists because parents still do not understand the importance of education. Sexism is still a huge factor– boys can continue their education but the general consensus is it is better for girls to stay at home. Most of the time, schools are not functionalas the teachers lack the passion to teach and, in many instances, do not want to be on theislands away from their homes and families. Child Aid Papua’s main goal is to make sure that every child has the opportunity to be educated. We also want to create an understanding among the adults regarding the importance of education.
After all the years we have been here, Raja Ampat’s nature never ceases to amaze us. Every day Mother Nature presents her magic and beauty to us everywhere we look. We realise that this beauty can only last if we preserve and protect it. By working with the community to create a better understanding of sustainable living, we hope to create environmental awareness in the area.
Child Aid Papua believes that having a learning centre will make our work more effective and more sustainable. It will be a place where children and adolescentscan access both education and health-care. The learning centre will also be a place where they can discover and appreciate the importance of preserving the environment.
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