It all started with a family holiday in Sumatra in 2013. The founders of CareSumatra, Sue and Sean Delaney, visited Batu Kapal on a family trip and fell in love with the natural beauty of this place and the hospitality of the local people, and they wanted to do something to help.
There is a reason why Batu Kapal is special. In the Indonesian language, “Batu” means “ship” and “kapal” means “rock”. The naturally occurring limestone cliff formations have provided a refuge for a remnant population of wild orangutans and other wildlife, acting a bit like an “environmental ark”. Not only has it protected the species, but the wild population of orangutans has been thriving.
This buffer zone proved to be a critical conservation spot as the national park kept retreating on all other fronts due to deforestation and encroaching human population. Sue and Sean spotted an incredible potential of this buffer zone in the conservation of the Leuser ecosystem.
They have also learned about the harmonious relationship that has always existed between the indigenous Karonese people and the rainforest, and realised how they could leverage this relationship to create a community-based conservation project.
They started out by creating a sustainable ecotourism company in 2013 to give local people alternative jobs outside of palm oil and rubber. The money was reinvested in local community initiatives. In 2017, they launched the Batu Kapal Conservation project to help restore the wildlife biolink.
We have gone a long way since then, and have created a lot of positive and tangible impact on the ground, both socially and environmentally. Our projects and the number of local people involved keep growing! We have also had hundreds of international volunteers and interns come and help with our conservation initiatives. Through these locally-led projects, we help protect the rainforest and empower local communities.
In 2019, we established the CareSumatra charity to formalise the work we have been doing and to create more opportunities for the future.
Read below the story of our organisation and our key achievements to date.