Refugees Plant Mangroves to Protect Indonesian Shoreline


Date Publish: 
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Makassar – Refugees assisted by IOM in Makassar, South Sulawesi, last week volunteered to join a community project to plant over 500 mangrove plants at the Kawasan Ekowisata Mangrove Lantebung in Tamalanrea district.  

The initiative – Together in Action – Loving Nature – Planting Mangroves – brought together 150 volunteers, including families with children. Half of the volunteers were refugees from Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Myanmar living in Makassar.  

“Together we can build a better place for us all – for animals, for plants and for humans. This programme helps us to understand the benefits of planting mangroves, which protect the habitat, produce oxygen, and beautify nature,” said Ichsan Ashari Achmad, a marine and fisheries student at local Universitas Hasanuddin, who explained to the volunteers how to plant mangroves, how they grow, and their essential role in the ecosystem. 

Mohammed*, a 12-year-old refugee from Afghanistan, described the day as “a great moment.” 

“We had a lot of fun outdoors, enjoyed the green of the mangrove forest and the blue of the ocean.  It was the first time for me and my friends to do something like this. We met with local people and got to learn about mangroves,” he said.

Muhammad Kasim, the head of nearby Bira village, also welcomed the project, which was sponsored by IOM and the city of Makassar. “The mangroves are crucial, especially for us living on the shoreline. The local economy in Bira and the surrounding areas depend on fishing and crabbing in the mangroves. We really appreciate the participation of the refugees in this project,” he said. The local community will care for the new mangrove plants until they take root. 

*Name changed.

For more information please contact Patrik Shirak at IOM Indonesia. Tel: +62 87883416027, Email: