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It has been some time since we brought you a new Orangutan Warrior profile. This time that coincides with International Women's Day, we'd like to tell you about one of the inspiring women who has been a part of our Orangutan Habitat Rehabilitation (RHO) programme in East Kalimantan since 2016.

Nur Syamsiah, known simply as Nur, is a RHO Community Development Coordinator who works following a busy, activity-packed schedule. While Nur’s work is not directly with orangutans, her role has a significant impact on orangutan reintroduction programmes in Kalimantan.

"Being involved in orangutan conservation, I feel a sense of accomplishment. My role might be minor, but I know not everyone has the opportunity to gain the experiences that I have," Nur said.

Nur's work focuses on community development, education, health, and alternative incomes for the Wehea Dayak community. Nur pays weekly visits to the villages supported by the RHO programme in the Muara Wahau sub-district of East Kutai Regency, to assist local communities with waste-bank training activities, collaborate with medical and educational institutions, and contribute to cultural promotion activities.

Nur highlighted several interesting experiences she has had in her interactions with these local communities. One example was when she was entrusted to deliver lessons on environmental education. This was a daunting task for Nur, according to her, as she does not have a teaching degree: "Because my educational background is not in teaching, I’ve had to learn a lot – and fast! Including how to deal with student misbehaving and their different personalities.”


Nur and the children in the RHO Program assisted villages (Photo credit: BOSF)

Nur while helping Posyandu Lansia (Photo credit: BOSF)

Catch up with children in one of the RHO Program assisted villages (Photo credit: BOSF)

From right to left: Nur and Rahma (Photo credit: BOSF)

Nur (Photo credit: BOSF)

Nur said that she initially had reservations about the job, as she felt she had limited experience. However, after careful consideration and consultation with some of her colleagues, Nur decided to give it a go. She said that working with the community is very challenging at times, so much so that she once considered resigning: "However, I came to the conclusion that learning how to work with different groups of people takes time, maybe more than a year or two.” Thus, Nur remained in her position and is still working hard today.

Nur hopes that the RHO programme and the Bornean Orangutan Survival Foundation continue to lead the way in orangutan conservation and return as many orangutans as possible back to their natural environment. Nur also hopes that the RHO programme continues to assist local people in discovering alternative incomes that do not negatively impact orangutans and their habitat, ensuring their own survival.

"Be enthusiastic and continue to fight for orangutan conservation because good and sincere intentions will yield positive and progressive results," Nur asserted.


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