We have been serving the community of Bukit Lawang and many surrounding rural communities across North Sumatra for over 17 years. This is our story.
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-country 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 a close friend of the Trust, and volunteer at the local Orangutan Health Project. The 24-year-old, 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.
In 2020 The Richard Cann reading room became a conservation library that will be open to anyone in the community post COVID-19.
Why choose the Bukit Lawang Trust?
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.
17 years in the making:
Since 2003 the Bukit Lawang Trust has been supporting the bordering communities along the edge of the severely endangered Leuser Ecosystem. Our programs have been developed over years and in partnership with a wide range of NGOs and education providers to ensure that the education you deliver on your placement is second to none!
Partnerships & Collaboration:
We work with a community of project partners to deliver high standard conservation and education programs, see all of our partners at the bottom of the home page.
With up to five 'volunteer cycles' every year, our bookings are completely flexible. We also offer free cancellation and rescheduling up to 30 days before your placement start date, to give you extra peace of mind.
Our volunteer reviews speak for themselves! Find out what our volunteers thought by checking out the 'Reviews' page in the top menu.
Our brand new alumni network and fully supported action at home projects ensure that your adventure doesn't end at the end of your placement. To find out more, head to our Alumni page!
Because we understand that not everyone has the time or the money to travel to Indonesia we offer unique digital roles for our passionate eco-warriors on the home front!
We pride ourselves in being a grassroots family, and that's why all of our International staff are dedicated unpaid volunteers by choice, to allow us to invest the vast majority of donations directly to the people who need it most! As well as this, all of our programs are designed, from day one, with input from the community they will benefit, to ensure that the needs of the local communities are always at the very heart of everything we do.
Environmental conservation is at the heart of everything that we do, and we are proud to share the incredible initiatives that we run in North Sumatra. By supporting Tree Nurseries & offsetting our carbon emissions and the emissions of our volunteers flights we directly support the regeneration of this endangered ecosystem. Here at the Trust, we proudly support an ethos of regenerative conservation, and believe that becoming sustainable is just the beginning, our goal is to regenerate the Earth and its natural environments.
Find out more about what we are doing to protect the natural environment and preserve the severely endangered Leuser Ecosystem by clicking the button below!
Meet the team!
We at the Bukit Lawang Trust are committed to supporting our host communities in every way we can. That's why most of our staff are recruited from the community for the community.
Director of Operations
Having gained over 9 years experience in Operations Management, Samuel has undertaken a wide range of roles including Platoon Sergeant with the British Army Reserve, Team leader and then Deputy Operations Manager with Raleigh International in Tanzania & Nepal as well as Head of Conservation & Manager, Programme Manager and now Director of Operations for the Bukit Lawang Trust.
As Director of Operations, Samuel is ultimately responsible for providing strategic leadership for the Bukit Lawang Trusts operations, in accordance with their overarching global strategy. He takes the lead on the design and development of new programs, partnerships and relationships as well as working to develop the Trusts Indonesia Country Strategy, whilst ensuring compliance with legal policy, processes and standards. Samuel has overall responsibility for the quality, impact and safe delivery of the Trusts portfolio in Indonesia as well as community selection and program design in identified communities.
Program Manager - Education
Over the past 12 years Jaya has worked for a wide range of companies as well as International Non - Government Organisations in both administrative and management roles. Jaya has overseen the facilitation and implementation of sustainable development initiatives in a wide range of provinces across Indonesia Including; West Papua, Aceh Semarang District in central Java, Bandung and North Sumatra. Outside of his work in the sustainable development sector Jaya has developed a wide range of experience in textile and garment manufacturing industries.
As Program Manager for for the Bukit Lawang Trusts Education Program Jaya is directly responsible for the delivery of a comprehensive English Language curriculum to over 250 students and beneficiaries from 7 different rural communities across North Sumatra. Jaya is also responsible for Volunteer management of all of our Education Volunteers.
Could this be you!?
Program Manager - Conservation
We are currently looking for a passionate environmentalist with experience in conservation and volunteer management to join our amazing team on the ground here in North Sumatra, and to take the lead on our Conservation Programs!
If this sounds like you, drop us an email at with the subject "Conservation Program Manager" and attach your CV and a brief motivations letter and we will be in touch!
Media Recruitment & Marketing Intern
Originally from the UK, Anna has recently graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in History. During her studies at university, she completed a placement year as a Junior Account Manager at a Marketing Agency, giving her a broad range of experience in the delivery of successful digital marketing campaigns. Since university, Anna has assisted in developing the social media presence and marketing strategy of a glassware company. Anna has also organised many charity fundraisers and led the recruitment for a Leeds University Raising and Giving Society event.
As Media, Recruitment & Marketing Intern, Anna is responsible for managing the Trust's website and social media platforms, recruiting volunteers to the programmes and organising fundraising for the Trust. As well as this, Anna acts as 'Head of Household' for the volunteers, ensuring they have a safe and enjoyable placement at the Trust.
Tri has gained practical experience teaching both Elementary and primary schools students as part of her University studies. Outside of her studies she has also worked as a private tutor in Medan city. After graduating from university Tri worked for Asahan financial before moving back to Bukit Lawang to volunteer in PPLH Tri. currently works every morning in an elementary government school and works in the afternoons as a teacher at the Trust.
As an English Teacher at the Bukit Lawang Trust, Tri is responsible for delivering the English Language curriculum as part of the Trusts Education Program. Tri also works alongside Education volunteers to deliver classes, plan lessons and activities and oversee the day to day running of the Education Program.
Nur is our newest staff member at the Trust. Inur works as a Kindergarten teacher in our Big Stars class. Nur also helps education volunteers to deliver the Afternoon English Classes as part of the education Program.
Siti-Nur is responsible for delivering the Indonesian 'Saya Suka Membaca' kindergarten curriculum to our Big Stars class alongside our three other Kindergarten Teachers. She is also responsible for assisting in the delivery of the Education Program alongside education volunteers.
Butet has been working as a Kindergarten Teacher for the Bukit Lawang Trust for the past 8 years. She works with Siti-Nur in our Big Stars class and also delivers weekly fitness classes for all of the Kindergarten Students and Parents to take part!
Butet is responsible for delivering the Indonesian 'Saya Suka Membaca' kindergarten curriculum to our Big Stars class alongside our three other Kindergarten Teachers. She is also responsible for assisting in the delivery of the Education Program alongside education volunteers.
"I like being a teacher here, I love the kids and I LOVE THE TRUST!"
Cleaner & Site Maintenance
Wati is one of our most senior staff members, having been part of our staff team for over 10 years. Wati looks after the school building and the grounds as well as looking after all of us!
Wati is responsible for cleaning and site maintenance, She also assists with cooking and preparing class materials and events for the Bukit Lawang Trust.
"I love the Trust, not only because it is close to my home, but also because it allows me to learn English and gain many new experiences. I also love being able to see the children!"
Transport & Logistics Coordinator
Fitri is our longest standing team member, having been with the Bukit Lawang Trust for over 11 years! She has held a wide range of responsibilities during her tenure including cook, assistant teacher and even interim manager! She now works as our Transport & Logisics coordinator for the Trust community centre in Bukit Lawang.
As Transport & Logistics Coordinator Fitri is responsible for organising all transport and equipment our staff need to carry out their jobs. Fitri also looks after transport and logistics during emergency situations. An additional role Fitri has taken over in recent years is resident cook, so you can look forward to her amazing cooking during your stay with us!
"There are many reasons why i love working for the trust, but most importantly i love being here as its given me a chance to learn English myself and work with children!"
Ida has been working as a Kindergarten teacher for the Bukit Lawang Trust for the past 8 years. She works with our Little Stars class and also delivers craft and circus sessions for the Kindergarten students.
Ida is responsible for supporting the other kindergarten teachers in the delivery of the Indonesian 'Saya Suka Membaca' kindergarten curriculum. She is also responsible for preparing our 'Little Stars' students for starting the Indonesian curriculum with 'Big Stars' through the delivery of a 'learning through play' pedagogy and running crafts and activity sessions alongside our other 'Little Stars' teacher Rasimah.
"My love of kids is what motivated me to work at the Trust, I love working hard and gaining new experiences. There are lots of lessons for me at the Trust, even as a teacher!"
The vast majority of Rasimah's work experience has been based around delivering education to children of all ages. Rasimah has also worked to adapt educational curriculum through the implementation of conservation attitudes and the ideals of equality and independence into pre primary education.
Rasimah is responsible for supporting the other kindergarten teachers in the delivery of the Indonesian 'Saya Suka Membaca' curriculum. She is also responsible for preparing our 'Little Stars' students for starting the Indonesian curriculum with 'Big Stars' through the delivery of a 'Learning through play' pedagogy and running crafts and activity sessions alongside our other 'Little Stars' teacher Ida.
"I try to help children realise their potential and be the intelligent good people that they are. At the Trust I can learn how to keep the environment clean and gain lots of experience. The Trust is the BEST!"