Thousands of children from 31 countries across the globe joined together to say “Hello My World!” to raise awareness for the plight of the endangered orangutan and vanishing rainforests.
“Hello My World!” is an international social awareness and educational campaign initiated by the Helen Doron Educational Group to mark the 30th anniversary of Helen Doron English. The awareness campaign taught 100,000 Helen Doron students worldwide about how and why animals lose their natural habitats and how palm trees used for manufacturing palm oil can lead to the extinction of numerous animal species.
The response to the campaign was outstanding; local Helen Doron Learning Centres invited parents, students and the community-at-large to participate in awareness events. Communities in Portugal, Croatia and Hungary sponsored events at local zoos and adopted newborn orangutans. Children of all ages were invited to participate and to submit a video in English to spread the message.
Helen Doron, CEO and founder responded, “I am thrilled to see the nearly 3000 videos you have submitted. You have used English to spread the message that the endangered orangutan and rainforests need our help and protection. Together, your voices are making a difference.”
The videos garnered an impressive 350,000 votes from friends, family and the global community. The top rated videos were reviewed by representatives from Orangutan Outreach, Orangutan Foundation (OF)-(UK), International Animal Rescue(IAR), Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) and Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) and Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Project (GPOCP) along with CEO Helen Doron and Polish environmental awareness and conservation writer, Beata Pawlikowska.
All reviewers agreed that public awareness is essential to protecting and conserving the endangered orangutan population. Jessica McKelson from SOCP explains, “Sumatran orangutans are a critically endangered species with estimated 6,600 animals remaining in the wild. “ Karmele Llano Sánchez from IAR agrees, “The plight of orangutans is very critical and yet their populations in the wild are still declining due to habitat loss. We must try to save the orangutans before it’s too late.”
The judges were impressed with the quality of the videos that were submitted. Ashley Leiman from OF remarked, “These videos seem to sum up everything that I could possibly say about why you should save orangutans and the rainforest. They’ve said it all.” Environmentalist Beata Pawlikowska agreed, “I am happy to see that children of the world understand the wonderful power of nature and the need to protect it.”
These judges chose the campaign’s prize winners. Masha from Ukraine won the grand prize award, a trip to see the orangutan in its natural habitat. Máté from Hungary, Minnie from China and Paola M. from Ecuador also submitted prize winning video clips and will receive tablets as the second and tied third place winners. When told that she had won the grand prize, 8 year old Masha exclaimed, “I am so very excited to see the orangutans!” .
Helen Doron Ltd. will donate 1€ for each posted video and continues to accept videos until the target of 4000€ has been reached. The funds will be awarded to Orangutan Outreach where they will be distributed to continue to promote public awareness and to protect orangutans in their native habitat while providing care for orphaned and displaced orangutans until they can be returned to their natural environment.
Richard Zimmerman of Orangutan Outreach responds, “We are thrilled to be joining forces with Helen Doron English Schools to help save the orangutans! Bringing attention to the plight of orangutans is the first step to saving them. It is so exciting to see thousands of young students from all over the world learning about orangutans and doing their part to help save them. Helen Doron is doing so much to help encourage children to love orangutans. It is heartwarming to see. Thank you!”
All judges unanimously agree that the work must continue. Nico Hermanu for BOS explains, “Orangutan rescue, rehabilitation, and release programs need a lot of support: to acquire release areas, patrols, monitoring and more strict law enforcement for the benefit of the remaining habitat and wildlife…” Cassie Freund from GPOCP summarizes, “This is a great contest to raise awareness about the plight of the orangutan, and saving the rainforest today means that it will still be around when these children grow up.”