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A prize for bringing hope
Posted by NewsBot on 3/01/2010 10:17:29 a.m. Reply to this post

Early mobilisation and great teamwork saw the team from SMK Sri Gading, Batu Pahat, Johor, walk away with the grand prize in the New Hope for Orang Utan School Programme.

Despite starting small, the four-member team created a remarkable ripple effect.

In fact, so infectious was their enthusiasm to save the orang utan - an endangered species - that up to 224 of their schoolmates and friends chipped in to help.

With such a big pool of support, the team was never short on information or ideas, and this was shown when they produced some of the best pamphlets, cards and posters in the competition.

And their legion of “fans” ensured that their blog - dedicated to saving the primate - received a steady stream of hits.

However, the budding environmentalists decided that a school-based effort was not good enough and they decided to take their crusade to the community.

“They engaged the local community and explained the importance of saving the orang utan,” said Abdul Razak Abdul Wahab, the students’ Biology and English teacher.

“They were at it every single day collecting signatures as a sign of support. In the end, they got more than 6,000 signatures.”

Team leader Muhammad Syamin Abdul Salam, 16, paid tribute to the support they received from their friends.

But how did the team get so many people behind them?

“Support wasn’t that great until we got our friends involved,” he said. “We organised colouring contests and quizzes which focused on the orang utan and our friends got excited.

“It was really good to see so many students coming together for a common goal and I dedicate our win to them.”

For their efforts, the four team members pocketed RM800 each and walked away with a study trip to Sungai Kinabatangan, Sabah.

And all the extra help was justly rewarded as the school received RM2,000.

A collaboration between Boh Plantations Sdn Bhd, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia, TV9 and the Education Ministry, the programme was intended to raise awareness on the plight of the orang utan among Malaysian youths.

Boh also launched the Tea for Trees programme in tandem with their orang utan conservation efforts.

Under the programme, anyone can “adopt” a tree by buying an adoption pack. In return, a tree will be replanted at a degraded forest spot.

“Tea for Trees is one of the initiatives under our New Hope for Orang utan Programme that was conceptualised to restore the home of orang utans by connecting forest fragments and raising the level of understanding on the plight of the orang-utan among the public,” said Boh CEO Caroline Russell.

Meanwhile, WWF-Malaysia executive director and CEO Datuk Dr Dionysius S.K. Sharma said the programme was a success and thanked Boh for its orangutan conservation and reforestation work since 2005.

Held for the second consecutive year, the campaign drew support from shoppers, students and environment enthusiasts.

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