Located on the northern coast of Papua is a spectacular island called Biak, where we work with our partner Eden Projects to plant many species of Mangrove trees.
Made up of over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Together with our partners Eden Projects, we are providing jobs to over 100 local villagers by planting mangrove trees in an area that was devastated by a major tsunami.
Waiting to be planted
Two decades ago, a major tsunami hit Biak island, devastating many of the coastal villages. The village of Korem in particular, saw half of its population wiped out overnight. Since then, the villagers have moved the village into a more protected area while still to this day working to rebuild their lives. As a result of this tsunami, in Mnurwar, the mangrove estuary that the local fishermen depended on to support the fish population was virtually wiped out. Over 1 thousand hectares of mangrove estuary was destroyed leaving many of the local fishing communities scrambling to support their families.
Biak is an interesting island. It is, in many ways, more a part of Papua New Guinea than Indonesia. The locals look closer to the native Indonesian Aboriginese and speak different dialects than the more populated islands. As a result, they face a significant amount of racism which leads to a number of challenges around employment, lack of government support, very little education funding, and more.
The majority of these villages are living hand to mouth. The men are often supporting their family with food through fishing while the women find odd jobs and work labour in an effort to supplement the income with enough to pay for the bare essentials - school, books, clothing, etc. In many of these areas, the lack of income leads to the villagers making short-sighted, desperate decisions - sand mining, dynamite fishing, crime - all in an effort to feed their families.
Often times in these areas, the only way to step out of poverty is to get an education and move into the city. Unfortunately, due to a lack of government support, the locals are often left to pay for elementary school and high school. Without consistent income, the majority of villagers never complete their education and, as a result, never get the chance to lift their families out of poverty. It leads to a cycle of poverty that is incredibly tough to break.
Eden Reforestation projects reduces extreme poverty and restores healthy forests by employing local villagers to plant millions of trees every year