Jakarta – Walt Disney Co.'s Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) has named Indonesian woman, Ida Saparida, a hero of the environment in its 2019 list, among other environmentalists from 50 other countries who have devoted their lives to fostering conservation efforts in their communities.
"Taught at a young age by her mother how to weave traditional mats from Pandanus leaves, Ida values the cultural importance of her handicraft skills, protecting forest resources and creating sustainable incomes for the local people in Indonesia," as written in The Walt Disney Company official website.
Ida is the chief craftmaker of the Mata Pencaharian Berkelanjutan (Sustainable Livelihood) Program in a remote village in North Kayong regency, as reported by kompas.com. The village and the regency are located in the buffer zone of Gunung Palung National Park in the province.
Her journey began in 2011, when she attended a sustainable livelihood workshop hosted by the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program (GPOCP). She developed her skills as an artisan to build her career.
She understood that her community must actively preserve the forest to avoid deforestation. Following her mother's footsteps as a craftmaker, she felt the need to encourage her community of craftmakers to use natural resources sustainably in their work.
Ida later used her network from a workshop she attended to help the community reach a wider market. She helped form cooperation between her community, private distributors and the government, allowing artisans to sell large quantities of their crafts.
Such cooperation helps community members, especially those involved in mining and logging activities, to look for alternative and sustainable livelihoods.
"She [is] volunteering to teach traditional weaving techniques at local schools, mobilizing hundreds of people across communities to use wild plants for economic stability, and spearheading agroforestry efforts," the DCF wrote on its website.
Ida's success has inspired many people in other places across the country to advocate for forest conservation as well as a return to traditional crafts for economical and sustainable livelihood options.
Since 1995, the DCF has been supporting nonprofit organizations with initiatives of community conservation to protect the planet and preserve wildlife. The fund has recognized more than 180 heroes around the world. (syk)