In the small but beautiful town of Batukaras lies the Bale Tau. A tranquil haven and the location of CLEAR Community.
I had the pleasure of volunteering with CLEAR, taking part in community outreach: visiting schools and educating groups of young people on the problems with plastic pollution.
Plastic education in primary schools
We visited a primary school in the local town of Cijulang. First we showed a video on the origin of plastic, how it’s made, where it ends up if it’s not recycled, and how it can be recycled. We asked the children to explain to us the difference between organic and non-organic waste, then used this knowledge to play a game. The children were asked to collect waste from outside the school and sort into organic and non-organic. We then had a short discussion about the materials they found and what can happen when they end up in the ocean. To conclude the session, we asked them what they have learned, and how they would make an effort to recycle and appropriately dispose of waste.
The children were so engaged the whole way through. They took the chance to practice their English with me and taught me how to count to 5 in Indonesian (they were also more than happy to pose for a photo with me!). To finish our visit the leaders at the school made us some deep-fried banana and a lovely cup of tea : )
Sorting waste for creative repurposing
My next experience was sorting through 2 bags of rubbish that had been collected from the local beach, separating them into straws, soft plastic (plastic bags, sachets etc) harder plastic, ropes, netting and foam. Shockingly, we counted around 450 straws that had been collected in 30 mins. The plastic was then cleaned, to be used for art projects with groups of students later on.
This sort of thing is done regularly by CLEAR, as a means of putting trash to good use and raising awareness amongst the local community of reusing by adding a creative twist.
Teaching english in high schools
I then helped teach an English class to a group of high school kids. They started off by introducing themselves to me in English. I then asked them to tell me about their family, their hobbies and their career goals. After they asked me questions about myself and my story. They worked in pairs, having greeting conversations with each other, then translated the conversational English into Bahasa and took it in turns to read different passages. It was a great chance for me to learn their language too! I read them back in Bahasa – which the kids found very amusing! When the session was over, we were chatting, taking photos together and exchanging Instagrams. It was such a cool experience, and they were a very sweet and vibrant group of kids.
Beach Clean ups
I also took part in a morning beach clean up, which had an amazing turn out – about 30 people helped. The group consisted of locals and a group from Bandung. We collected rubbish for about an hour – an impressive amount was gathered. It was then sorted into categories and taken away for recycling. It was a really cool way to meet people and learn more about their stories, what brought them to Batukaras and how they were making a difference to raising awareness of plastic pollution and recycling.
I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the CLEAR community, and I admire the charity’s dedication to its local community. You can really see how much of a difference they are making, and how dedicated they are to raising awareness of such a pressing issue. I hope to work with them again in the future!