The Bukit Lawang Trust was founded in response to a flash flood in 2003. The flood, which was most likely caused by illegal logging in the Jungle, destroyed much of Bukit Lawang and killed more than 240 people, leaving approximately 1400 people without a home.
Founder and Trustee Rebecca Coley had visited the village a couple of months before the flood and decided to take action to help those she had met on her travels. Rebecca set about raising funds and went back with her family to provide basic aid to those affected. Initially, the Trust took the form of a medical clinic serving those who were suffering as a direct result of the disaster.
In 2007, fourteen volunteers from Rebecca’s home-county travelled to Sumatra to build a permanent structure for the Trust, along with local people and support from the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission.
In 2014, the Richard Cann Reading Room was added to our existing centre, following the tragic death of the 24-year-old Orangutan Health Project volunteer. Richard was a friend of many at the Trust and we are very grateful for the generous donations and support from the Richard Cann Wildlife Foundation over the years. The Richard Cann Reading Room continues to honour Richard’s passion for wildlife, providing a conservation outreach centre in the local community.
The Trust Today
Over the years the Trust transitioned from a clinic to an Education Centre, in line with the changing needs of the local community. The Trust today is a hub of activity for the community and for Education and Conservation projects throughout the area.
Today we work with the community to improve the quality of life and education in the area, and to protect the precious Leuser Ecosystem, which is the last place on Earth to find Tigers, Elephants, Rhinos and Orangutans living together in the wild. Through the facilitation of our Education Program, Jungle Food Program and Conservation Program, we work to reduce poverty in and around Bukit Lawang, and in doing so enable local people to thrive in a more sustainable lifestyle.
What makes the Trust special?
Over the years the Trust has touched the hearts of countless volunteers, visitors and most importantly local people. The people of Bukit Lawang and the surrounding area are at the heart of everything that we do. All of our programs are designed in consultation with local people, for the benefit of local people and indeed are also facilitated and delivered by local staff. As we are a small-scale charity, we are able to guarantee that all money donated to the Trust goes to those in the community who need it most, and not to international staff wages, administration fees or expenses. The Trust, while internationally funded, is truly locally driven.