Hundreds of people from all over the world, and across Indonesia, come to volunteer with FNPF (Friends of the National Parks Foundation) each year. Some stay for a few days, some a few weeks, while others work with us for months at a time.
Volunteers play a vital role for FNPF conservation work. Volunteering not only helps in grassroots community development and conservation efforts to save Indonesia’s endangered species but volunteer donations also help us operate the volunteer program and important conservation work across Kalimantan, Nusa Penida island and Bali.
Introducing our first “FNPF Star Volunteer” – to recognize the talents and efforts of our global volunteers we will feature a “star” story each issue.
Meet “Sabrina” (Sharan Bahra)!
Sharan Bahra (42) is a self-employed Project and Change Manager from London, UK – who has designed her life to allow freedom and flexibility to also freelance as a semi-professional volunteer.
Helping out in conservation work at sanctuaries and other environment projects in countries across the planet – from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nepal, China, Thailand, Australia and now Kalimantan – the FNPF team travelled to our Borneo projects recently where “Sabrina” was waiting to meet us.
Volunteering at FNPF Kalimantan for a total of three weeks, Sharan became known as “Sabrina” by the local team and is now considering changing her name by deed poll as she likes it so much.
Sharan had the opportunity to visit all FNPF reforestation sites in the Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan. Travelling by speedboat and even traditional canoes, Sharan helped in creating a nursery to grow native tree saplings, find seedlings in the jungle with local villagers, plant saplings in reforestation corridors, and design some posters to use for local schools at our education centre, in Jerumbun, the FNPF sustainable agroforestry farm near Sekonyer River.
Lucky her! Sharan also made a split second decision to join the FNPF Ubud team on their return flight back to Bali – with a side visit to our other volunteer projects in Nusa Penida island, off Bali, and the FNPF Bali Wildlife Rescue Center, in Tabanan.
“FNPF is definitely on my list to work with again on site but I also want to continue to help profile the great work they do from the UK,” says Sharan.
“It is one of the best organisations which offer volunteering that I have worked with”.
“Meeting the staff – and hearing their stories of how they came to work for FNPF: from ex- loggers, and people who started as volunteers and ended up working as permanent staff”.
“Everyone is warm, friendly, encourages you to be completely at home – and lots of laughing with the locals, trying to learn the language, being covered in mud, getting my hands dirty (and have flies buzzing around my head – she jokes!)”
“Don’t expect air-con or creature comforts when volunteering on the Borneo side.
“You truly do live and work as the locals and the staff do. For me, it’s better that way as you get wholly immersed and involved and makes for a much better experience if you truly want to help.
“If you’re worried too much about mud and basic washing conditions then Bali is best for volunteering for you….but you can do it all if you want!!!”.