We take holidays and vacations to see new places, try new cuisines, scuba dive in different locations, to rest, relax and unwind and forget the stresses of day to day life at home. It is just as easy to not think about the reality of life for the local communities of the areas we are travelling to and visiting often what we see is not always the reality. We are all used to our daily lives at home with work, making a living and for many choosing a good school for the best education available for our children.
Life in Raja Ampat and here in Gam Island does not have the luxury of this choice. There is only one school with Teachers that haven’t always had formal training to degree level.
Our local village – Yenberser has only one school and is the sole educational source for over 90 children aged between 6 and 12 years old. These children receive a basic level of education with very little learning materials and no electric so no computers or technical training.
Having recently had a baby of their own Rey and Patricia of Raja Ampat Biodiversity Resort really understand the worry each parent has and feels for their child’s future. Every parent always wants the best for their children. With this in their hearts Raja Ampat Biodiversity Resort has sourced a formally trained English teacher to work at the local school.
La-Ode Saudinis originally from South Silawasi took his teacher training at the University Muhammadiyah in Sorong. La-Ode is employed by Raja Ampat Biodiversity Resort, they pay him a salary and provide food for him. The local owner of the land where on which the resort is located provides him with accommodation in the village. La-Ode teaches English to the school children in the mornings, and in the evenings he teaches their parents and other locals of the village English.
Raja Ampat is becoming a more and more recognised diving and holiday location, currently offering off the beaten path holidays. With government support and tax reliefs for locals more and more home-stays are popping up in the area and adding a new form of income for local families. Biodiversity Eco Resort has three home-stays very close by, many guests have said how welcomed they felt but that arranging anything or communication was very difficult as no one speaks any English.
The aim of our English teacher is to train Adults and children in communicating in English to help their family businesses. As with everywhere the children are our future, it is vital that we educate them not just in English but more importantly in the importance of their environment and especially here in Raja Ampat in Eco-friendly and sustainable form of tourism and most important of all the importance of conservation. Raja Ampat is one of the most bio-diverse ecosystems in the world and is extremely important to the worlds environmental balance.
Teaching the children the importance of the reef ecosystem around them, helping them understand that there are methods of fishing that are harmful and damaging, and that there are methods that are non-damaging and sustainable. Such as not catching reef fish like parrot fish and groupers which are vital to the balance of a reefs system. Teaching them that line and hook and pelagic fish species are less damaging to the environment. Teaching them how the ecosystem works and how to protect and work in conjunction with the environment to produce long term sustainability.
There has been a saying of “Give a man a fish you feed him for a day, Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life” We believe in this principle and want to Teach the future generations of Raja Ampat how to earn the best living with the minimal to no impact on the environment. It is the environment that draws people to this area, if there are no reefs, no forest or mangroves left there will be no reason for tourists to visit. Our aim is with our resident marine biologist and our English teacher to start lessons and activity sessions on the environment – to teach the children the importance of each creature that makes up this delicate and amazing ecosystem. To help them become the future protectors, and ambassadors in protecting Raja Ampat while making a living to have a better quality of life.
Education at the village school is basic and they have little to no materials to support their teachings. This Christmas we plan to make a donation to the school in the form of books, pens, pencils, text books etc.
If you are planning a visit or have already booked a stay at the Biodiversity Eco Resort and would like to help the school we request that rather than make a cash donation that you bring materials with you, anything that you feel would have and educational value for 6-12yr olds.
We have developed some activities with our customers in the village. In addition, more than 500 notebooks and 200 pencils’ boxes have been given to the community. This is one way we love to aid the community and reinforce our values.
We are very hopeful that this project will be successful and we plan to give updates every few months on how things are going.