Our Story

Our Story

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.

 

 

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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. 

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What makes the Trust Special

Over the years the Trust has touched the hearts of countless volunteers, visitors and 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. 

Flexibility:

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. 

Outstanding Reviews:

Our volunteer reviews speak for themselves! Find out what our volunteers thought by checking out the 'Reviews' page in the top menu. 

Alumni Network:

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! 

Digital Opportunities:

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! 

Grassroots Family:

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:

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.

Lets go!