Overview

At present, we are advertising for several different volunteer roles. These roles are listed below as Education, Eco-Farming and Conservation, but within all of these roles there will be opportunities to become involved in activities outside of the listed field.

Education Programme: At the Trust we see education as a route out of poverty, which has proven a reality for the students who we have sponsored to go to University. Our current students are between 4 and 20, but we are looking to expand into adult classes, as we believe that you are never too old to learn!

The programme aims to enhance the English education, through the delivery of our Kindergarten classes and Afternoon English classes.

 – Kindergarten Classes: Part of the education programme is the facilitation and delivery of two Kindergarten classes, our ‘Big Stars’ and our ‘Little Stars’. These classes are delivered in keeping with the national curriculum of Indonesia and run by three permanent staff teachers here at the school (Rasimah, Ida & Butet). For two days a week (Thursdays & Fridays) volunteers on the Education Programme will teach these classes.

 – Afternoon English Classes: In the afternoons the Trust delivers English language tuition to over 100 students from seven different local communities. These classes are planned and delivered by volunteers on the Education Programme under the supervision of the Head of Education.

Volunteers will work with local teachers, staff, and other volunteers as well as our full time volunteers who manage the Education and Conservation Programmes. You will be provided with everything you need to plan, develop and facilitate your classes to the best of your ability, however if you want to bring your own teaching aids this is always welcome!

As a volunteer on the Education programme you can expect to live in an incredibly beautiful area, right on the edge of the Leuser ecosystem and in the heart of a dynamic and fun filled community center in Bukit Lawang! Outside of the classroom there are Action Days and festivals to plan and organise as well as graduation ceremonies for students! When you are not working, the village of Bukit Lawang has an excellent night life and there are many guest houses and jungle trek providers in the local area for those weekend get aways!

Typical day
After a three day volunteer Induction, you will volunteer for 4 – 6 hours on weekdays, however this is highly variable depending on the number of volunteers on your cycle and the amount of planning and preparation required for your sessions. On the education programme you will be largely free in the mornings with the exception of the Morning meeting at 0900 with all programme teams. Thursdays and Fridays  however you may be asked to take the lead on the kindergarten classes in the mornings. If you are doing these, you will likely not be delivering the afternoon English classes on the same day as we try our best to distribute sessions amongst the volunteer teachers.

Regardless of your working day you will be finished by 1800 on weekdays, after which you are completely free (unless its your turn to cook! we have a cooking rota for evening meals which means we only pay for one evening meal every few weeks and we only have to cook once every few weeks! plus we get to try different foods from all over the world!).

Lunches are provided by our Incredible Chef Fitri, and all meals are vegetarian, however there is a restaurant directly opposite the school where you can get non veggie meals at very good prices!

During the day you may be asked to help with household jobs such as painting, maintaining, making signs, gardening, or working on personal jobs.

Afternoon English classes are two hours and each community class comes once a week. Usually these two hour sessions are divided into one hour English Language and one hour team building, games and practical application of English Language. Volunteers have quite a free reign over classroom style and approach, however we try to avoid talk and translate methods wherever possible. You will always be supported in the classroom by local teachers who will assist you in both the planning and the delivery of your sessions.

Alongside English classes, you can also become involved in our Days for Girls scheme which aims to educate local women on female health and hygiene.

Conservation Programme

As a volunteer on the Conservation programme you will be directly involved in the establishment of new and exciting youth led sustainable enterprises in the local community, helping to provide an alternative occupation for young people to Palm Oil plantation work.

The Conservation Programme aims to establish new youth-led sustainable enterprises in Bukit Lawang and guide current business owners towards sustainable best practice in order to protect the severely endangered Leuser Ecosystem.

You will guide your ‘entrepreneurs’ through the process of establishing their dream job by covering the following key areas;

– Idea Generation
– Market Research
– Research Analysis
– Business Model Canvassing (BMC)
– Managing Finances & Budgeting (Cash Flow)
– Sustainability (Green Factor)
– Business Management

At the end of the programme volunteers will assist in the setting up and starting of these youth led sustainable enterprises, reducing poverty through livelihoods diversification and reducing the negative environmental impact through facilitating a workforce shift to sustainable jobs.

On top of this, volunteers will assist in the delivery of our very own Youth Ranger Programme designed by our project partners at Darwin Animal Doctors. This project aims to give young people in Bukit Lawang a taste of the Ranger Patrol responsibilities and facilitate a better understanding of the importance of saving animals and the environment. This project will develop employability skills whilst developing an understanding of the importance and methods of conservation here in the sumatran Jungle. Through this project we hope to inspire a sense of ownership amongst young people for their planet whilst fostering a sense of belonging and the eagerness to help and support their local environment.

Typical day
After a three day volunteer Induction, you will volunteer for 4 – 6 hours on weekdays, however this is highly variable depending on the number of volunteers on your cycle and the amount of planning and preparation required for your sessions. On the Conservation Programme you will be largely free in the mornings with the exception of the Morning meeting at 0900 with all programme teams. Thursdays and Fridays  however you may be asked to take the lead on the Youth Ranger classes in the mornings. If you are doing these, you will likely not be delivering the afternoon Youth-Led Sustainable Enterprise (YSE) classes on the same day as we try our best to distribute sessions amongst the volunteer facilitators.

Regardless of your working day you will be finished by 1800 on weekdays, after which you are completely free (unless its your turn to cook! we have a cooking rota for evening meals which means we only pay for one evening meal every few weeks and we only have to cook once every few weeks! plus we get to try different foods from all over the world!).

Afternoon YSE classes are 3 hours every week day. Volunteers have quite a free reign over classroom style and approach, however the core content of the curriculum must be delivered. You will always be supported in the classroom by local teachers who will assist you in both the planning and the delivery of your sessions, you will also have a course curriculum and handbook designed by our very own head of conservation to guide you through the process.

Erna’s Eco Farm 

Ecological Farming or more commonly known as Eco-Farming is a way of cultivating agriculture that places an emphasis on both the health of the environment and the health of its consumers. Long before conventional and modern agriculture practices have been put into place, people had farmed in an eco-friendly way. Besides producing healthy and safe-to-consume agriculture products, ecological farming also provides other benefits, such as minimized environmental pollution and contamination through agricultural activities, and maintenance of soil productivity and fertility in the long term. All of which add up to improved sustainable use of natural resources and of the environment.

Volunteers will assist on her own garden, community garden or farm, known as Erna’s EcoFarm, located in the village of Gotong Royong, North Sumatra. The eco-farm is surrounded by rice paddies, agro-forests with mountains in the distance. The eco – farm is a short distance from her homestay and the communal garden within walking distance. Erna started focusing on her land 10 years and with the help of the Ruffort Foundation 4 years ago, was able to develop the farm as organic. The farm is in the initial stages of becoming a productive ecological farm which aims to create a sustainable land management system to encourage economic growth and biodiversity. Erna future plans include working with volunteers and people with knowledge of organic and permaculture farming, to develop school sessions at the farm, to open the farm to the public so they can learn about the plants, their uses and medicinal properties. Erna is a lovely lady and very passionate about making the farm work for her and the community and to encourage others to follow.

Details

Volunteers will stay at Erna’s homestay, in one of the two beautiful rooms that overlook her garden and mountains. There is no WiFi at the homestay but buying data for your phone is cheap (3gb £3 for 1 month). However there is WiFi at the trust. There is also the possibility of 2 volunteers to sleep at the farm in a simple house for free. However, we ask volunteers to bring, donate or buy electrical equipment, kitchen stuff or furniture for the house to make it more liveable. Breakfast and lunch will provided. Volunteers will work on the farm for around 3 -5 hours a day, then return to the homestay for lunch with Erna and rest. The days are dynamic and work can range from general gardening, taking the animals, such as goats or sheep for a walk, picking fruit, recycling, composting and helping to bring local children to the farm and showing them around. Volunteers will work in collaboration with Erna on what projects she wants working on and work alongside Papa (Erna’s Husband) at the farm who speaks little English, but is extremely friendly and helpful. Volunteers do not have to bring anything, but gardening or growing vegetables books would be helpful. We expect this to be a fun learning experience.

Preferable Skills

To have some gardening knowledge

To be able to work alone

To work on ones own initiative

To work within the local community

Willing to learn basic Bahasa Indonesian

We accept volunteers throughout the year, except during the month of Ramadan. We encourage volunteers of all ages above 18 years to come and give it a go. There is plenty of work to do be done, either working on the farm or helping to make it more presentable with signage, exhibitions to encourage the outside community to come and learn.

At the moment we ask for volunteers to join us for 60 days, as this is the length of their social visa and enables more stability for everyone involved in the centre. We charge $106 dollars per week for those who stay with us. This covers your accommodation costs, transport to and from Medan airport, as well as 10 meals a week. We rely on this funding to continue running our centre.

About Bukit Lawang Trust

We are a Charitable Trust working to enhance the education of the community of the village of Bukit Lawang and the people of this region and to engage in environmental and wildlife projects in connection with the endangered Leuser Ecosystem. We are a grassroots organisation, established in 2003 after a flash flood which destroyed the village of Bukit Lawang. Since that time, we have worked with the community to improve the quality of life and education in the area, and to protect the precious Leuser Ecosystem. We believe in a holistic approach to conservation and through working with local communities we can better protect the natural environment. Bukit Lawang is located next to the magnificent Leuser Ecosystem which is the last place on Earth to find Tigers, Elephants, Rhinos and Orangutans living together in the wild. We believe that poverty reduction greatly improves conservation efforts and their chances of success. Through the facilitation of our Education program and Youth Led Sustainable Enterprise Program we work to reduce poverty in and around Bukit Lawang, and in doing so give young people the opportunity to not only survive but thrive in a sustainable lifestyle.