By Cassie Freund, Program Director
On June 26th, GPOCP awarded six new Bornean Orangutan Caring Scholarships, bringing the total number of young conservationists that we support to an impressive 19 students. This program, known in Indonesia as the BOCS, is a university scholarship program funded by the Orang Utan Republik Foundation and Orangutan Outreach. GPOCP is the only organization in Kalimantan that awards these scholarships, making this a unique opportunity for young people from Ketapang and Kayong Utara regencies to obtain the education and experience that they need to make a difference in the world of orangutan conservation.
Through the BOCS, we provide students from the Gunung Palung landscape with funding to attend Tanjungpura University (UNTAN) in the provincial capital of Pontianak. This year, 23 graduating high schoolers from across the region applied for the scholarship competition, from which we selected six highly deserving recipients. They are Sari Ulandari (sub-district Simpang Hilir), Ervan Wahyudi and Victor Samudra (Sungai Laur), Nur Sholihin (Sungai Melayu Rayak), Dedi Januri (Seponti Jaya), and Supriadi (Sandai). During their time at UNTAN, four of these recipients will major in Forestry, and two in Biology. These six will join our 11 other BOCS recipients at UNTAN beginning this fall! We are also happy to announce that the BOCS recipients from 2012 have recently finished their coursework and graduated, pending the results of their thesis work. We are especially proud of Risa Aprillia, who majored in Elementary Education and will graduate cum laude. Risa finished among the top in her class and her thesis project integrating orangutan conservation into classroom education was lauded by her professors.
The 2016 BOCS award ceremony was held at Mutiarra Laut restaurant in Ketapang and attended by over 40 people, including representatives from the Ketapang Department of Education, the Gunung Palung National Park Office, International Animal Rescue and other local conservation organizations, and the family and teachers of the scholarship recipients. Our special guest was scholarship founder and funder, Dr. Gary Shapiro, from Orang Utan Republik Foundation. Gary gave an excellent talk explaining the history of the scholarship and its sister program, the Sumatran Orangutan Caring Scholarship. Since the beginning of this project in 2006, OURF and Orangutan Outreach have awarded over 110 university scholarships to Indonesian students. GPOCP has been a project partner since 2012, and we are honored to be the scholarship facilitator for Kalimantan. We are looking forward to awarding many more scholarships in the years to come!