For our latest adventure, we're swapping our gowns and old books for mosquitoes and tropical downpours to take part in the first ASEAN Rickshaw Run from Jakarta to Bangkok, all in the name of promoting Southeast Asian studies at the University of Oxford and raising funds for Birdlife International. Join us for this 2500km journey across half a continent in a vehicle built to get you across town...most of the time.
From 16 to 29 October 2011, 30 teams from the UK, Europe, North America and Australia will travel over land from Jakarta to Bangkok via motorised rickshaw to raise funds for charity in the ASEAN Rickshaw Run. The event is sponsored by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the interests of promoting greater integration among its 10 member countries.
Our team, Team Project Southeast Asia Oxford, comprises three Oxford graduates from Singapore (Chan Xin Hui & PJ Thum) and the Netherlands (Tom Hoogervorst). We are taking part in this event to promote Southeast Asian unity, raise awareness of Project Southeast Asia and most importantly, raise funds for an amazing charity.
Project Southeast Asia is a major initiative to expand Southeast Asian studies in the University of Oxford in recognition of the tremendous potential of the region. Its ultimate aim is the establishment of a Centre of Southeast Asian studies at Oxford – the first in one of the world’s top universities and the first initiated by Southeast Asians. The first step towards achieving this goal is the establishment of a University Lecturership in Southeast Asian History. The University is seeking £3 million to fund this post in perpetuity. This would build on Oxford’s already numerous contributions to Southeast Asia - both within and outside academia - and its unsurpassed track record of excellence in the region, particularly in the field of medicine, where it conducts world-leading research in nearly every Southeast Asian country.
The Harapan Rainforest or “Rainforest of Hope” is a trendsetting initiative to preserve and restore one of Southeast Asia’s most diverse ecosystems. Pioneered by Birdlife International - the world’s largest partnership of conservation organisations - and its Indonesian affiliate Burung Indonesia, the project has recently acquired a concession from the Indonesian government to manage a valuable lowland forest in Sumatra covering 100,000 hectares.
Please look here for a video on the Rainforest of Hope
With its innumerable islands, tropical climate and lush rainforests, Indonesia ranks among the world’s richest and most important countries in terms of biodiversity. New species continue to be discovered every year. Home to more than 1600 different varieties of birds, its rainforests shelter one-sixth of the world’s avian diversity. Unfortunately, an increasing number of species are rapidly nearing extinction under the constant pressure of poaching, commercial logging, overpopulation and forest fires.
A hard core of dedicated people struggle constantly for the protection and preservation of Sumatra’s unique rainforest. With the intention to return it to its original condition, the Harapan Rainforest is controlled under private management and in close collaboration with local communities. Its dedicated field researches and forest patrollers strive to protect plant and animal species and ensure sustainability in the use of natural resources. As a result, much of the forest has regenerated naturally from severe logging in the past. It is now home to various threatened species, including the Asian elephant, the siamang, the clouded leopard, the Malayan sunbear and the critically endangered Sumatran tiger.
Please look here for more information on Sumatra’s natural heritage
The only traps found in the Harapan Rainforest are camera traps, documenting its remarkable wildlife. Research on the forest’s stunning biodiversity is of great benefit for the conservation and rehabilitation of endangered species elsewhere. The project organises local workshops and trainings where field experts, students and indigenous communities join forces in the ongoing battle against deforestation. With its innovative and inspired forest management, the “Forest of Hope” is unique in its kind and could serve as an example to the world.
Despite formidable economic obstacles, the staff, students and volunteers working for the Harapan Rainforest are dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate about the restoration of Sumatra’s natural rainforest. Please consider donating to help the Harapan Rainforest preserve one of the world’s most unique ecosystems.
- £5 - will help facilitate the collection and propagation of seedlings from endangered tree species for reforestation
- £25 - will help purchase tools and personal equipment for the local staff to undertake forest management safely
- £50 - pays a forest patroller’s salary for a month
- £75 - will help towards the cost of running a workshop for staff, students and local communities to develop the skills and capacities needed to ensure a sustainable future
- £100 – will protect 100 hectares of lowland rainforest against further deterioration and misuse by economic migrants