The personal and professional legacy of Raleigh: Yuyun’s story

5th January 2017

Yuyun Ismawati was a host country volunteer on Operation Raleigh expedition 10F on Seram Island, Maluku, Indonesia in 1987. Since, she has set up her own NGO, won an internationally acclaimed award for her work to protect the environment and seen her daughter go to India with Raleigh International.

yuyan-2 “Operation Raleigh expedition 10F was a scientific expedition inside Manusela National Park in Seram Island, Maluku.

“I enjoyed the experiences helping the local communities renovate the school and assisted the scientists collecting specimens.

“What I got out of Raleigh most of all is friendships that have lasted until now. The challenges that we had to face together made us rely on each other to get through it all safely.

“It changed my life. Joining a Raleigh expedition gave me more confidence, made it easier to make friends, opened my horizon and mindset to face any challenges. The cross-cultural interaction also gave me confidence to face the world and strangers.”

After graduating Yuyun worked as an environmental engineer for consultancies, but soon shifted her focus to NGOs. Bali Fokus was set up in 2000 to expand Yuyun’s community-based urban environmental management programme across Indonesia. Nine years later she was honoured as the Indonesia winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work to help poor communities to design safe and organised waste management systems, which also prioritise health and the environment.

yuyan-22“I received the Goldman Environmental Prize 2009, the world’s largest award for grassroots environmental activists that is only given to six people every year from six continents/regions.”

Yuyun was pleased when her daughter also decided to volunteer with Raleigh and found they were able to understand each other’s experience.

“It was funny that she finally understood what I’m doing in my life – my work involved helping communities build biodigesters for cow manure, pig farms and slaughterhouses, as well as promoting community-based sanitation in urban and rural poor settlements. So when she wrote a letter that said she had built four biodigesters and 12 dry toilets, I knew she was having fun and really understood what she was doing.

“‎For parents: send your teens to join a Raleigh experience. For young people: open your mind, challenge yourself, connect with others through Raleigh projects!”

This blog is taken from our latest issue of Connections, the magazine dedicated to Raleigh alumni, which you can read here!

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