16 July 2018 - Palangka Raya, Central Borneo- Borneo Nature Foundation. After going through a tough competition, Borneo Nature Foundation announced the recipients of the first-ever Orangutan Caring Scholarship (OCS) in Palangka Raya on Monday 16 July, 2018. Two scholarships were granted to selected applicants; Pricilia Gumbang and Zetli Decosta from the Forestry Department, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Palangka Raya (UPR).


OCS Winners 768x749The two aces from Forestry Department will receive the scholarship to fund their university tuition fees. The scholarship selection process was very competitive, there were at least 90 candidates joining the initial application before we selected 10 candidates for the final stage.  Because of their tremendous efforts, Pricilia and Zetli were ranked as the two top scholarship candidates to receive the OCS.

I thank BNF for giving me the opportunity to join OCS selection process. I find the selection was extremely tough and I hope that I can take the benefit from this scholarship, not only the funding but also a new knowledge of conservation” said Pricilia who was ranked as the top candidate in the selection and was honored to receive the first OCS – Matthew Jordan Hamilton Foster Scholarship.

Zetli who aced the scholarship selection by winning second place also expressed his wishes to learn from BNF in the future to be part of a well-trained conservation generation. “I consider myself fortunate to be able to win the scholarship from BNF and the Orang-Utan Republik Foundation” said the student who is currently in his first year of study.

BNF has been assisting the Orang-Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) in the distribution of the scholarships to UPR. Dr. Gary L. Shapiro, the founder of the Orang-Utan Republik Foundation, visited UPR during the launch of the OCS scholarship in May 2018. The mission of this scholarship is to raise the awareness for people regarding the Borneo’s flagship species, the orangutan, and its habitat through education. The red ape has been listed as Critically Endangered due to the loss of habitat as a result of severe forest fires, land conversion, and poaching. Therefore, the scholarship recipients are expected to bring this mission to campaign for the better lives of orangutans in their forest home.

In Palangka Raya, it was the first time the OCS was launched. Ir. Birawa M.P, the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture University of Palangka Raya, expected that the number for the scholarship would continue to grow in the future, thus more students from low-income family would be able to attend the university. “I congratulate those who have successfully won the scholarship and encourage the other applicants to maintain their good effort in order to be successful in the future. I hope the number of the scholarships can increase in the future to help our children enjoy the education at the university” said Birawa.

The newly appointed Assistant Director at BNF, Yunsiska Ermiasi, also attended the inauguration of the OCS scholarship at UPR. In line with Ir. Birawa M.P, Siska encouraged the other eight scholarship participants to not stop trying for opportunities that may come ahead. “As the facilitator of the scholarship, we will try our best effort to optimize the number of the scholarships. We hope that the programme can run continuously in the future to accommodate the numbers of the students who need additional support to attend university” said Siska.

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Scholarship Recipients with lecturers of UPR and the BNF team
Photo by Arapa Efendi | BNF

The Orangutan Caring Scholarships are awarded each year. As in recent years, OURF is targetting about 150 scholarships to be given by 2018. There is no limitation of the subjects to apply for the scholarship, however the huge priority is given to several science fields that are considered to have direct connection with orangutan and its habitat, such as biology, veterinary science, and forestry.