Gracelynne Danielle Kusuma, Sascha Putri and Qanita Zahara, three students from British School Jakarta (BSJ) have been crowned the 2020 Changemakers Challenge winners for their project Restoring Borne Wildlife by CAS Trips, a community of educators and travel experts who provide educational travel experiences locally, internationally and virtually. A total of 2,169 students representing 47 different nationalities participated in this challenge.

The Restoring Borneo Wildlife is an entirely student-led initiative that aims to promote environmental conservation in Borneo, Kalimantan. It was established approximately six years ago as a small social media awareness campaign in response to the wildfires in Borneo and later grew into a collaboration with students all over Jakarta, then subsequently it became a long-term partnership with the environmental NGO Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF).

The 2020 Changemaker Challenge is a challenge initiated by CAS Trips to encourage students from around the world to invent or campaign for something that will make a positive impact in their community. Gracelynne Kusuma, Founder and Leader of Restoring Borneo Wildlife Project said “I initiated this project out of love for the Indonesian community and deep concern for the things that were harming it. We seek ways to expand this project and involve more like-minded individuals who share the same concerns about the future of Indonesia’s natural environment.”

Over the years, the group has held numerous events involving students across Jakarta to raise funds and awareness about the environmental issues in Indonesia. One of the biggest events was when the team hosted a storytelling competition for young children. In the competition, the participants had to prepare presentations and monologues about deforestation and environmental conservation in Indonesia. The team hoped to foster the advocacy spirit within children and teach them how to present their research in creative yet meaningful ways. The team also formed a club to encourage young children to conduct independent research and learn to spread awareness through creative means.

The team recently donated a sum total of Rp 30,000,000 to BOSF to support the wildfire response (including purchasing safety equipment) and BOSF’s running cost as an organisation as well as to contribute to BOSF’s rehabilitation funds. Gracelynne, Qanita and Sascha said “Winning this challenge demonstrates how much we care about our Earth. And equally important, it exposes us to getting in touch and to fostering a meaningful relationship with the like minded individuals and organisations worldwide. We had always planned to expand our initiative beyond Indonesia, so this award is a huge stepping stone to achieving that goal and playing our part in creating a more sustainable global environment”

British School Jakarta Principal, David Butcher said “We are very proud of our students’ achievement in winning the 2020 Changemaker Challenge by CAS Trips. The students have proved that you are never too young to come up with solutions to address real-world problems and bring meaningful impact. We hope that they would inspire many more students to think and start addressing global issues, starting from where they are.”

CAS Trips Founder Simon Armstrong said “The originality, impact and exceptional online presence of the Restoring Borneo Wildlife project had made it the stand out submission in this global competition with entries received from all over the world. As part of their prize, the group won an all-expense-paid trip to one of our Global Student Conferences in either Singapore, Edinburgh or Boston where they will have the opportunity to present their project to like-minded young changemakers. In what has been a considerably challenging year for community service projects, it is incredibly heartening to see these students making a hugely positive impact on their local communities and we really appreciate it.”

Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite, BOSF CEO said “ “We are feeling elevated about the students’ achievements to win this international challenge. It is very encouraging to see the students’ commitment and dedication to support BOSF works on orangutan conservation in the past years. We are very thankful for their works, not only in raising funds to support our organisation, but also to build public awareness about the importance of supporting the orangutan and habitat conservation, especially to the younger generation. We hope to see this project to expand and involve even more young people.”

For further information about the Restoring Borneo Wildlife team achievement in the Changemaker challenge, please see the video here

BRITISH SCHOOL JAKARTA
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www.bsj.sch.id