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>  Volunteer Projects Asia  >  Indonasia Project

Help charity International Animal Rescue build an orangutan rehabilitation centre in Indonesia from £1250/ per person

The aim of International Animal Rescue is to come to the aid of suffering animals around the world, and wherever possible return rescued animals to their natural environment or provide permanent sanctuary for animals that can no longer survive in the wild.

In 2010 IAR drew up plans to construct an orangutan rehabilitation centre in Ketapang. The sole aim for this centre is to house, rehabilitate and release 100 orangutans back into the wild. Since then they have bought 24 hectares of land thanks to the support of a very generous donor. In August 2011 the plans were put to tender and construction started on Phase 1, thanks to a £400,000 investment and the help of our volunteers. Phase 1 was completed in early 2013, with Phase 2 looking to build more enclosures to house orangutan as well as administrative infrastructure.

This orangutan project is certainly one of the most ambitious and costly but is also arguably one of the biggest and most necessary orangutan rehabilitation projects to happen in Indonesia. This is a very challenging conservation project but is sure to deliver a very rewarding sense of achievement. IAR desperately need you to help build this centre that will eventually house and give hope back to these 'great apes'.

Please take some time to watch the video on this page (see the videos tab below) where Alan Knight OBE and his colleagues explain the inspiring work that they do.

"I am delighted that we will be working closely with the team at The Great Projects and look forward to the Great Projects’ volunteers helping us build a future for orangutans in Ketapang, West Kalimantan through their award winning volunteer programme." Alan Knight OBE - CEO International Animal Rescue


Project Summary

Partner: International Animal Rescue

Focus: Orangutans

Location: Ketapang, West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Arrival and starting point: Kuching, Sarawak Malaysia

Start Dates: The 5th of every month

We are fully booked for the remainder of 2014, so enquire now for 2015!


Day 1 - You will be collected from the airport at Kuching, Sarawak Malaysia and transferred to your accommodation for the next two nights. At 7pm there is a welcome dinner with the project leaders, where you will get to meet the other volunteers. Volunteers arriving earlier in the day are free to explore the safe city of Kuching where English is widely spoken.

Day 2 - One of the highlights of this project. 
Not only will you visit two orangutan rehabilitation centres in one day; but you will have the unique opportunity to be guided round them both by members of the team who have worked there for years and were responsible for many of the rescues and releases as well as the day to day care of the orangutans.

Day 3 - Another early start and you'll transfer from Kuching to the Indonesian city of Pontianak by bus. Passing over the mountains that separate the borders of Indonesian and Malaysian Borneo you’ll cross the border at Tebedu interior road crossing. This evening will be spent in a hotel in Pontianak

Day 4 – On this day you will take a scenic boat trip from Pontianak down to Ketapang.
Arriving later that day you'll settle into your accommodation (locally rented houses close to the project site and with most mod-cons) After a home cooked meal prepared by members of the local community you'll meet the rest of the team along with seeing the orangutan you will have come so far to help. In the evening you'll receive a detailed safety briefing along with details of the precise nature of what construction your team will be working on.

Day 5 to 27 - There's no pretending that these days aren't going to be challenging. For these days volunteers will be spending time helping with the construction of the new centre with other days spent working with the rescued orangutans currently housed in the temporary centre.
A potent sense of motivation at this early stage (in this, our most important orangutan conservation project to date) is that for each enclosure or cage that we help build there is sadly an orangutan waiting to fill it. 
That said the team have done the same at other locations in Borneo before and are determined to continue their great work with this centre.

Day 27 - After goodbyes, it's the end of project party depending on how tired you all are.

Day 28 - Your return plane journey or independent travel.
Volunteers wishing to avoid the first 2 orangutan rehabilitation centres in Malaysian Borneo and coach journey to Indonesian Borneo may join the project by flying direct to Ketapang on the 7th of the month.


This volunteer programme is designed to help our charity partner International Animal Rescue build a fully functional orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centre in the middle of a jungle; where there are no pre-existing facilities. As a volunteer you will be working in IAR’s temporary wildlife conservation and rescue centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan and helping to construct the much needed new centre. At the temporary centre you will be helping the staff with enrichment for the orangutans which involves improving their surroundings to stimulate their physical and mental health.

The construction of the new centre will take a lot of hard work from the volunteers who will engage in activities including laying the necessary roads / building enclosures, holding cages and erecting electric fences and walls. Whilst constructing all of this in the middle of the jungle is never going to be easy, the volunteers who make this trip find it more rewarding then volunteering at an already constructed centre. By participating in this project you will get to enjoy working at the orangutan centre and then take that passion to help them to construct the new centre that is so desperately needed.

This will be a long process with so much yet to be done. That said the team have done the same at three different locations in Borneo before and you need not think that you have to be a construction worker to be of use. Your financial contribution will ensure that in addition to the materials needed for each construction project; there are also the tools you need along with local construction workers (employed through your donation) and our own highly trained staff to assist and walk you through each step of the way. We know from experience that all you need, to be of genuinely immense help, is a positive mental attitude and a committed desire to improve the life of orangutans.

You will need a good level of fitness, if nothing else just to carry things and function in the heat and humidity. However, whatever your fitness level the projects' team will ensure you make a meaningful impact in the laying the foundations for orangutan protection. Remember there will always be the opportunity for rest days if and as required by individual team members.


International Animal Rescue's team is working in West Kalimantan to rescue and care for an increasing number of orangutans - some only tiny infants whose mothers have died trying to protect them, others fully-grown adults that have spent years in captivity, living in misery in tiny cages or chained up.
International Animal Rescue is currently using a temporary centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan to care for rescued orangutans while they work to establish a permanent orangutan rescue and rehabilitation facility in Ketapang. The Great Projects will help move the Ketapang centre forward by injecting funds and labour through volunteering and voluntourism.

" I am delighted that we will be working closely with the team at The Great Projects and look forward to the IAR Orangutan Project volunteers helping us build a future for orangutans in Ketapang, West Kalimantan through their award winning volunteer programme." Alan Knight OBE - CEO International Animal Rescue

Be among the first volunteers to set the foundation stones of the new centre to save orangutans in a forgotten part of Borneo. Register your interest for this ‘once in a life time' chance to build a future for orangutans in Borneo.

When traveling to Indonisia, it is best that you apply for a social cultural via from your home country. You will have to give yourself at least 3 working days before your visa can be approved. If approved, you will receive a visa for 60days that can be extended every month up to 6 months.
Find the consulate or embassy of Indonesia in your own home country and see if they can issue a social cultural visa. People usually have a hard time finding one through the internet because they would type the wrong keyword in the search engine. You would naturally type "Indonesian embassy in (your city)" but the correct keyword would be "KBRI in (your city). KBRI stands for Kedutaan Besar Republik Indonesia which is the Indonesian term for Indonesian embassy.
The Application fee is around $45 and will take about 3 working days to get approval.
For help with your visa application please click here


Health and Immunization
You will only be asked to show health certificates of vaccinations against smallpox, cholera and yellow fever if you are coming from a known affected area. For vaccination advise check out and and consulting your health professional at least 6 weeks prior to travel.

Money Matters
Indonesia's currency is the rupiah. If you need to change your foreign currency or travellers check, you may safely do so at major banks or authorised money changers. Some banks will charge a stamp duty or transaction fee. Watch money changers carefully as they are counting your cash, to ensure they are not shortchanging you. Always count your money before you leave.

Indonesia is a tropical country, with high humidity and temperatures ranging from 20c to 30c. Therefore, dress for the climate- lightweight cotton clothes will suit the sunny outdoors. Bring a raincoat in case of rain.
Women would be wise to dress respectfully, covering shoulders and legs covered. Indonesia is a conservative country, and modestly-dressed women will get more respect from locals.
Only major cities have metered taxi's, and even then "broken" meters are quite common. Haggle fares with the driver before riding one, and don't be afraid to walk away. Airport taxi stands offer fixed rates to tourist destinations.

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