We are appalled and saddened by the Supreme Court's recent decision to uphold the current administration's ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. This policy directly conflicts with our values.
“This is my first time seeing an orangutan in the wild with my own eyes,” said Tian.
Tian is one of several students involved in ASRI Teens, an after-school conservation education curriculum for high schoolers through ASRI's Planetary Health Education Program. Similar to ASRI Kids, which targets primary and middle schoolers, the ASRI Teens study issues related to health and our environment. They also go outdoors to learn, and last November went on an overnight field trip with International Animal Rescue (IAR).
At Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), we believe that the communities we work with are the best solvers of their own problems, and it is our job to listen to them and help them find solutions. And listening is not something we do only once - it is a continuous process the helps us constantly refine our programs. So on January 15th, ASRI held radical listening meetings with villages around Gunung Palung National Park.
“Please show me, where is Indonesia?”
“Here!” the students called as they simultaneously pointed to Indonesia.
Thanks to so many donors, supporters, and friends, our flagship partner ASRI celebrated their 10th anniversary on July 13th. To mark this incredible occasion, ASRI hosted an open house and festival on hospital grounds. Read More
Health In Harmony’s (HIH) next phase is to expand the conservation and human health reach by replicating the model. Behind the scenes, HIH staff -- with input from our partner, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) and the HIH Board of Directors -- have been busy looking into possibilities and thinking about ways to effectively improve lives, reducing the pressure on protected areas and successfully conserve precious ecosystems. As that work continues, we wanted to take a moment to share with you one of the opportunities we are pursuing. But first, let’s talk about methodology.
Guest blog by Stella Lesmana
If my “Borneo bracelet” breaks, that’s the sign that I should visit Sukadana again.
That was my promise. Finally on February 20, 2017 I landed again in Ketapang.
The first two parts of this series outlined the conservation challenges in Borneo and our efforts to combat deforestation by engaging communities. The question now is whether our solutions work. But when dealing with issues that combine economics, health care, social justice, and conservation biology, how do you measure progress? Planetary health is an emerging discipline and we are using methods that have not been tried before. So there aren’t many clear benchmarks for comparison.
We can start by asking what success would look like. For Health In Harmony’s Indonesian partner, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), complete success would mean 1) zero deforestation in Gunung Palung National Park, 2) a return of the park to 100% natural vegetation cover, and 3) net forest growth throughout the region. And we would have achieved those goals by creating healthy communities that are invested in the long-term integrity of the natural landscape. So how do we stack up against those goals?
Part 2 of 3 - Our Solution. Read Part 1 here.
Health In Harmony’s mission and that of their Indonesian partner, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), is a difficult one—stopping forest loss in western Borneo, a region with one of the world’s highest deforestation rates (check out Part I for an introduction to the problem). As planetary health professionals, we seek solutions that address the underlying social conditions that lead to forest loss. But those social factors are complicated, involving issues like government policy, population growth, poverty, indigenous rights, gender equality, and education. Tackling such a complex problem requires comprehensive and flexible solutions and more than a bit of creativity.
Focusing on the area around Gunung Palung National Park, ASRI uses a 5-pronged approach that combats deforestation on multiple fronts.
Part 1 of 3 - The Problem
To many people, Borneo is a remote and wild place, an unspoiled tropical island teeming with dense forests, wildlife, and traditional cultures. Throughout the early twentieth century, this view was partly true; the island was over 75% forested and was home to hundreds of thousands of orangutans and other wildlife, in addition to diverse communities of people speaking dozens of different languages. Read More
Guest blog by YungAh Lee
Every morning I had something to look forward to as I biked to the ASRI hospital.
A small boy greeted me like a happy sunflower, shouting a big hello with his hand stretched out. I can't remember what he looks like because every time I biked past him I was often distracted by his mother’s pop-up stand selling pineapples, bananas, other tropical fruits that I cannot name. But I do remember his lively voice, launching off my day with a fortissimo.
Guest blog by Nicole Lin
I went on the Journey to Borneo with my parents, and though they have supported Health In Harmony for several years, I didn’t know very much about the organization or its connection to ASRI going into the trip and didn’t really know what to expect from it. That said, the trip was wonderful from start to finish and offered endless inspiration for me, a college student trying to figure out options for meaningful, fulfilling work after graduation.
Guest blog by Leni Glassman
In August, ten-year-old Leni Glassman traveled to Borneo with her mother, father, and sister, to see Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), the program that her family has been supporting for years, in person. Now, Leni reflects on her experiences and the memorable people she met. Read More
This weekend, the ASRI staff was all hands on deck to help with a BIG transition - moving the clinic into the new hospital building!
Guest blog by Maggie Gumbinner
Last month, a group of nine Health In Harmony supporters traveled to Sukadana in West Kalimantan, where our partner ASRI operates, as part of the 2016 Friendship Tour. On the trip, they met members of the ASRI staff, saw the rain forest that they helped reforest, talked to the patients whose lives were saved at the clinic, and watched the hospital grow before their eyes. Below, Health In Harmony Board Vice President and trip participant Maggie Gumbinner shares her reflection from the trip.
Why rain forests are important is a question with a complex answer. Rain forests are Earth’s oldest and most complex ecosystem. Fifty percent of the world’s plants and animals are found in rain forests, and scientists estimate that there may be millions of plants, insects, and microorganisms still undiscovered.
A fundamental part of Health In Harmony’s mission is to improve the health of the people we serve. By building the Community Hospital and Training Centerin rural West Borneo, Indonesia, our organization, in partnership with ASRI, is able to provide the education and services that Indonesians need to provide health care in Indonesia, allowing people to stay healthy and live longer.
Our partner ASRI's Community Hospital and Training Center is more than 75% complete, poised to serve over 100,000 people living in the Kayong Utara Regency. This hospital will allow ASRI to offer surgeries and treat emergency patients so that nobody needs to be transferred to the public hospital hours away. Check out the latest photos of construction progress courtesy of visiting photographer Roni Bintang. Thank you to all of our supporters who've made this dream possible!