2017 Bornean Orangutan Caring Scholarship Recipients

By Terri Breeden, GPOCP Program Director
This year, with the support of the Orang Utan Republik Foundation, GPOCP was able to provide six new scholarships through our Bornean Orangutan Caring Scholarship (BOCS) program. This scholarship program aims to develop a generation of local, university-trained young adults that are highly committed to the protection of orangutans and their rainforest habitat in West Kalimantan. These deserving students are receiving an opportunity to attend college who may otherwise not be able to attend due to financial reasons. This program also serves to provide additional conservation and capacity building workshops, as well as moral support, to help these students succeed at the university level and to become conservation leaders.
In May, Dr. Gary Shapiro, the president of the Orang Utan Republik Foundation, made a visit to Ketapang, West Kalimantan.  Dr. Shapiro has been running this scholarship program for many years and in 2012 he brought the program to GPOCP. This trip he was able to meet the new BOCS student recipients and follow-up with some of our recent graduates. Since its inception in West Kalimantan, together we have helped support a total of 25 BOCS students to attend university at Tanjungpura University in Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan.
Dr. Gary Shapiro (center) and Terri Breeden (left) with the 2017 BOCS recipients.
Three of our students have recently graduated. From our first class, we have Risa Aprillia. She aspires to become a teacher and is currently working as a teaching assistant in an elementary school teacher education program. Risa is an advocate for orangutans and conservation and has created an Orangutan Monopoly game to teach youth about conservation. Our second graduate is Rinta Islami. Rinta studied Forestry and is currently conducting an internship at Cabang Panti Research Station in Gunung Palung National Park as a botany assistant. Our third graduate, from the 2013 recipients, is Hendri Gunawan. He studied law and how it relates to orangutans and conservation efforts throughout Indonesia. Hendri recently signed a contract with GPOCP and will begin working with our Environmental Education team in July. Welcome to the team Hendri!
Congratulations to each of our newest BOCS recipients:  Ratiah, Rafikah, Siti Nurbaiti, Mita Anggraini, Hanna Adelia Runtu and Ilham Pratama.
Ratiah is from Penjalaan, Kayong Utara (one of our Customary Forest villages that borders the National Park). She is the eldest of four siblings and plans to study forestry. Ratiah loves to write and learn about science. Because she grew up with GPNP practically in her backyard, she understands its importance and is motivated to protect this region. She also aspires to create urban forests in more populated areas.
Ratiah (left) and Rafika (right) during their presentations applying for the BOCS program. 
Rafikah, or Indah, is from Rantau Panjang, Kayong Utara and is the youngest of seven siblings and is the first in her family to attend university. Her father also passed away when she was a child. Rafikah loves photography and spending time outside exploring nature. She plans to study education at UNTAN with the goal of becoming a school principal and assisting the community through nature conservation.
Siti Nurbaiti, or Bayti as her friends call her, is from Riam Bunut, Ketapang. She is the fifth of seven children whose mother recently passed away. Bayti will study biology in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. She wants to tackle environmental issues, especially in regards to recycling and waste management. With the support from the BOCS program, she aims to realize her dreams and become an environmental entrepreneur.
Siti (left) and Mita (right) during their presentations applying for the BOCS program.
Mita Anggraini is from Ketapang and her birthday coincides with World Environmental Day on June 5th. Mita comes from a family of three brothers and plans to study International Relations. Mita has been recognized on a local and national level for her academic achievements.
Hanna Adelia Runtu is also from Ketapang and is the eldest of four siblings. She is an active member of International Animal Rescue’s Youth Volunteer group and will be studying forestry with the hopes to create a young generation that cares about the environment and who will help spread a positive energy and lifestyle that coincides with nature. Hanna also has a life motto, “By working hard now, you can enjoy life’s successes when you are older.”
Hanna (left) and Ilham (right) during their presentations applying for the BOCS program.
Our last recipient is Ilham Pratama. He is the middle child and will be studying Forestry. Ilham is an active member of our youth group, TAJAM, and his school’s environmental youth group, SISPALA Care. He aspires to become a teacher and tackle some of the larger environmental issues including deforestation, global warming and plastic waste. Ilham also has a life motto, “big dreams start from small steps.”
GPOCP would like to give warm congratulations to our new BOCS recipients. We look forward to working together to help guide the youth of today towards a career in conservation. We would also like to thank our supporters of this program, the Orang Utan Republik Foundation. Together we are changing the lives of youth throughout West Kalimantan in the name of orangutans!