To love and protect something, one must understand it. And to understand something, one must be aware of it.
It is easy to assume that a child growing up in Raja Ampat will have seen all the marine life, know alot about the reef, and understand the ways of them all. However, this is not the case. Of course most children here understand that fish come from the sea, that seasons change, and they have an intrinsic natural knowledge of what happens and when. But a gap exists in the understanding of why these things occur, what enables these natural cycles to continue, and how much their lives are connected to, and depend upon, a healthy reef ecosystem.
In partnership with Child Aid Papua, and its founder, Jonas, each Sunday the children of Yenwaupnor village join us for a day of learning, exploring and fun. Our goal is to increase these children’s environmental awareness and understanding, in order for them to make a clear connection between themselves and the natural world around them, and the future of their local communities. We aim to create a space and a place for environmental education and independent learning (and not just for kids, but adults too!)
Every child has the right to learn about their world around them, and their place in it, and it is incredible to see how much these children want to learn about the natural world, and how by simply understanding something a little more, the desire to protect it grows (there’s a lesson in this for all of us…,!). Already we can see certain children with a particularly strong interest in the environment around them, and we hope to be able to nurture this interest and help develop full potential for community based conservation efforts in Raja Ampat.