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Located on the northern coast of Papua is a spectacular island called Biak, where we work with our partner Eden Projects to plant many species of Mangrove trees.
Over twenty years ago, a major tsunami hit Biak island. The village of Korem saw half of its population wiped out overnight. Since then, the villagers have moved into a more protected area while working to rebuild their lives.
In Mnurwar, the mangrove estuary that locals depended on to support the fish population was virtually wiped out. Over 1000 hectares were destroyed, leaving the local fishing communities struggling to support their families.
In many ways, Biak seems more a part of Papua New Guinea than Indonesia. The locals share resemblance to the native Indonesian Aboriginese and speak different dialects than the main islands. As a result, they face significant racism which leads to a number of challenges around employment, lack of government support, and very little education funding.
The majority of these villages struggle to find stable income. The men support their family through fishing while women find odd jobs and work labour to supplement their income to pay for the bare essentials. In many of these areas, the lack of stability leads to the villagers making desperate actions: sand mining, dynamite fishing, and crime to support their families.
Oftentimes, the only way to step out of poverty is to get an education and move into the city. Unfortunately, due to a lack of government support, the locals have no funding for public schooling. Without consistent income, the majority of villagers never complete their education and never lift their families out of poverty. It leads to a cycle of poverty that is incredibly tough to break.
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