Save our environment through active participation of local people
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The projectTomohon is a group of mountain villages in the Indonesian province of North Sulawesi where 70% of the families are farmers. Many of these families cannot afford the (low) cost to send their children to (secondary) school. The Masarang Foundation selects children for the scholarships from poor families who live closest to degraded natural environments. These children receive a scholar ship for one year. They also participate in extracurricular activities relating to the environment and get additional English lessons from native speakers. They also write essays about the environment, collect climate data and take part in nature clubs and tree planting.
To sign up for the program a form has to be filled out for the children accompanied by a letter of good conduct from their village chief. Their school has to write a letter of recommendation for the applicant. After the request has been received, the students are interviewed by the Masarang Education Coordinator (the former school principal in Tomohon, Mr. Untu). The Coordinator proposes selected students to a Board for approval. Of all applications only a limited number of children can be supported because the amount of money available is limited. Finally, the students sign an agreement with the Masarang Foundation.
As far as funding permits, Masarang also makes scholarships available to university students (Bachelor and Master level) and has even contributed to two promotions (PhD-studies). Students supported need to choose a green topic and have to have a good reputation and ditto academic results. For example, the student that was recently supported, Yeanly Pinaria, was selected for her study of yeasts and bacteria that improve the quality of the palm juice of the Masarang sugar palm farmers.
Thanks to the support of the Rabobank Foundation for this program about 80 children per year could be supported with a scholarship in the past few years. However support for the foreseeable future is uncertain and we would love to have more children in this successful program.
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Significance and aims
- To provide children with education opportunities that they otherwise would not have (without support, they would already have to work as a child). Human potential is thus not spoiled.
- Longer and better education makes the local people more self-sufficient and improves their future
- The comprehensive environmental program that accompanies the scholarships ensures that these children are aware of the importance of the environment, will act more sustainable and can take their own green initiatives in the future
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- The Masarang scholarship goes a step further then an ordinary school through, among other things, extra lessons in English, environmental topics and by extracurricular clubs in which children learn in a playful manner about their precious nature
- Since 2001, hundreds of children have been able to go to high school who otherwise would have been forced to start working. They have good chances to avoid poverty and have a better future.
- Dozens of young people have been able to get a university education and can thus follow their passion and talents. They can take a leading role in the local community and help it improve.
- Two PhD researches in the field of environmental science were supported that helped students and also benefitted the community to become more sustainable
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Plans and needsWe would like to send 200 additional children to school each year. This costs about 90 Euro per child per year. In addition, we also would like to make research scholarships available for students from poor families. These cost 500 Euro per student per year.
Dr. Julius Pontoh.
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