Updated: Nov 19
SANNE VAN OORT, Founding Director of Mother Jungle
Sanne is an avid nature lover and founder of Mother Jungle, our partner in Indonesia dedicated to providing many of our travelers the opportunity to meet indigenous communities. Sanne’s passion for Mother Jungle is driven by her desire to empower local indigenous women in preserving their knowledge about nature, hold onto their storytelling traditions, and aid these indigenous people in cultural and environmental conservation.
In a modernized world where many people are increasingly disconnected from nature and not exposed to traditional knowledge passed down from elderly folks, Sanne’s Mother Jungle serves as a necessary bridge between urban and remote communities to communicate with each other, have meaningful dialogue, and work together in protecting the environment. Join us in our 2021 group trip to Indonesia to meet Mother Jungle and have an enlightening storytelling experience with the indigenous people of Bali!
Follow Mother Jungle here.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SANNE VAN OORT
1. WHAT MAKES INDONESIA A DESIRABLE TRAVEL DESTINATION?
Indonesia consists of more than 17,000 islands and has a population of around 220 million people. It is an ethnically extremely diverse country. Over 700 different languages have been identified and it’s estimated there are between 50 to 70 million indigenous peoples in Indonesia.
2. WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST REWARDING PART ABOUT RUNNING MOTHER JUNGLE?
Within 1.5 year of establishing ‘Mother Jungle’ in Indonesia we already won an award from the ‘Global Forum for Education and Learning’ in Dubai as Top 50 Organizations in the world. This showed us that the world is ready for new innovations focusing on sustainability, conservation and education with a respect for Indigenous Knowledge.
3. HOW DID YOU SET A FOUNDATION WITH THE BALINESE VILLAGE COMMUNITY?
In every area where we work in Indonesia we are getting help from a local guide, which is also very helpful for the translation of the local language to Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Indonesia to English for the production of the short documentaries. Our network expands with developing connections in different places of Indonesia and people are always welcoming us when they hear about the purpose of our work.
4. HOW DID STORYTELLING BECOME AN INTEGRAL ELEMENT OF MOTHER JUNGLE?
The mothers of the jungle are guardians of the rain forest cultures. There are so many stories hidden in the jungle and it’s time to give the mothers a voice. The empowerment of the indigenous women as powerful agents of change is necessary to strengthen their communities and nations in the face of environmental and other challenges.
5. IS THERE A PIECE OF ADVICE YOU GIVE A YOUNG PERSON WHO WANTS TO SEE OUR WORLD OR MAKE A CHANGE?
Travel with respect for the local communities and give back instead of take away.
6. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPACTFUL THING YOU LEARNED GROWING UP, THAT CARRIED YOU INTO YOUR CURRENT SUCCESS?
I grew up in a mostly man-made environment, The Netherlands. As I grew up I became appalled with how little I knew about my homeland’s original nature. I became interested in learning more about the world’s remaining primary landscapes, such as the forests and the oceans. Unfortunately, these areas are rapidly disappearing and hurting indigenous culture. These communities are not only losing their forests, they’re also losing their younger generations to whom they wish to pass on traditional knowledge. With the incursion of western civilization, the young have come to aspire to the wealth of the western world and all its technology, whilst disregarding their elders' wisdom. It is my long-life dream to help in sustaining and protecting the world's remaining primary forests because undisturbed primary forests are the only ones in which a full complement of species can thrive.
7. WHERE ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM? WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO INDONESIA? WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THIS COUNTRY?
I’m from The Netherlands and I left Holland to start working at the ‘Green School Bali’ as a Director of Learning and Teaching. In 2014 I left The Netherlands and at the same time the UN Member States developed and adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). In my position at the ‘Green School Bali’ I developed an understanding of all goals and how we could integrate these into our education model. Through living in a third world country and heading the Intern and Volunteer Program I also got to travel and meet a lot of young people, who inspired me to understand the problems and effects of deforestation and environmental damage. Our efforts with Mother Jungle are not only to focus on the local community but also to reach out to global partners and develop more awareness around the effects of our consumerism.
8. WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE MOTHER JUNGLE NAME? WHAT IS ITS SIGNIFICANCE?
The purest version of the connection to nature is through the mothers living closest to nature, thus we came up with “Mother Jungle.” The indigenous women are truly powerful agents of change in their communities. They are the guardians of the rainforest cultures and storehouses of great knowledge. Because of the way they are taking care of their tribes, indigenous peoples have successfully lived in rainforests for thousands of years. From these women we can learn to live sustainably, within the limits required by the planet's ecosystem.
There are so many stories hidden in the Jungle and it is time to give the women a voice. Both women and Mother Earth are resilient, strong, and overall a necessity. Women are creators of new life and the jungle functions as the lungs of earth.
9. WHAT DO YOU SEE MOTHER JUNGLE ACHIEVING IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS ON THE ISLAND OF BALI AND BEYOND?
Continuing to produce short stories sharing womens’ voices. We like to put a spotlight on them and develop their stories. ’From shy to shine’ is the slogan we are using. We also aim to train more local communities and bring awareness to International communities about the behavior patterns of their daily decisions which adversely impacts the world.
10. WHAT GLOBAL GOAL ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?
Mother Jungle is mainly focusing on Goal 4, (Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning) and Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls)
Watch a quick preview of a Mother Jungle documentary below. For more videos, click here!