The Soran Project

The Soran Project

6 August, 2011
Habitat for Humanity
Helping a poor Indonesian village… by making it a tourist destination

Habitat for Humanity and Asia Pulp & Paper, one of the world’s largest paper producers, are working together to lift an Indonesian village from poverty. Their unconventional plan is to make it an eco-tourism destination, where visitors can stay with families.

The area chosen for this radical concept will be in the village of Soran, where 60 percent of the resident families currently live below the poverty line, despite their long tradition of crafts and music and a seemingly prime location near to one of Indonesia's most precious attractions, Prambanan Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Central Java region.

The Soran project, as it’s called, will improve living quarters for most families by adding guest accommodations, expanding kitchens for the preparation of guest meals, earthquake proofing the buildings and adding laundry facilities. Furthermore, the project will train-to-employ over 250 villagers as laundry management workers, cooks of traditional foods and performers and marketers of the village's traditional arts. Over 100 villagers will also be trained in disaster risk mitigation.

The idea of causing the transition out of poverty through becoming a tourist spot is definitely unusual, and this has caused the project to be the subject of considerable controversy. It remains to be seen whether this move will benefit the region, but if it does, it’s foreseeable that the model might be emulated in other poverty-stricken areas of the world.

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By: Ecozine Staff


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