Posted by: masaranghk | May 11, 2016

Willie Smits Visit to Hong Kong

Dr. Willie Smits visited Hong Kong for a very short, but hectic few days. This is a short summary of the whirlwind trip. We hope we will be able to meet more friends and supporters when he visits again soon!


Willie visited the wonderful Hemingway’s by the Bay and met long-term Masarang HK supporter Dave Luxton. A great chance to meet up with a kind, caring supporter and enjoy great tea/coffee too!

We hope to celebrate with Dave and Gary Stokes (South East Asia Director, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society) soon at Hemingway’s!



Victoria Shanghai Academy

This is a very special school to Masarang HK, as they have supported us from our beginning. Willie wanted to meet and thank the many caring and supportive members of the school community, especially the dedicated principal, Ms. Susan Smith, before she retires. A group of teachers from the school has recently returned from a visit to Sintang Orangutan Centre projects. The team spent 4 days teaching students in the Dayak village, Tembak, as well as collecting curriculum relevant materials and, of course, visiting the 36 rescued orangutans.


Willie was first able to speak to Y3 students and staff on the sugar palm. This wonderful tree with its many benefits is now included in their curriculum!

Here at the left Willie is speaking to the attentive students.



willieHKG2We then had a wonderful lunch meeting with Ms. Susan Smith, the principal, and Ms. Bene Benoit, a highly dedicated teacher and community service coordinator.


We are very grateful for all the help and support they have given Masarang HK over the years.


After that we met the ever-growing Masarang Club with their many questions. Here below are some pictures of the enthusiastic students and some of the teacher-leaders.

willieHKG3 willieHKG4

Finally, Willie gave a brief talk in the school assembly before an amazing series of musical performances by the school community. A lovely, impressive musical interlude!


Willie then met a team from the ESF over dinner to bid farewell to Mr. Chris Durbin, with whom Masarang HK has collaborated for many years, especially during the recent SCOLAR project.

We also were able to discuss the recent visit to the Sintang Orangutan Project, by Mr. Ross Burrough (Island School) and Ms. Lesley Davies (Kennedy School).

Ross is currently preparing an exhibition of breathtaking photographs he took during their visit. This exhibition should be available to schools soon.

We wish Chris well as he will be leaving the ESF and moving to pastures greener (and flatter!) in the Netherlands. As a dedicated rainforest lover and environmentalist, we hope he will find the time to work with the Masarang Netherlands team.



A day of Skype and Writing!



West Island School

Willie visited to meet a group of Y12 students taught by Alex Murchie (who also was part of the wonderful SCOLAR team), as the school has included Masarang Foundation projects in the Humanities curriculum and the students were preparing for their exams.

willieHKG5After a lovely meeting with the vice principal, Ms Clare Haworth, who visited Tasikoki Rescue Centre, with a group of CAS students last year, Willie gave a talk to Y12 students and teachers. We were pleased to see the principal also attended the talk and another teacher supporter, Mr. Chris Head, was able to join us too!

HeroesToo at Café 8

After WIS, we met Raymond Yap who set up the Heroes too Foundation. We discussed ideas for collaboration with tree planting as well as enjoyed the wonderful Café 8 and the hard working, dedicated staff.

The French International School

Willie visited to give a talk to Monsieur Francois Dremeaux and a group of his students who will be visiting Tasikoki in June. The first, but not last (we hope!) visit by FIS to Tasikoki!

It was a pleasure to meet the principal, Francois and the enthusiastic students. A message from Willie: Enchanté de faire votre connaissance!




Island School

Willie had a meeting with Chris Durbin, Ross Burrough and vice-principal Matt Rappel. This school community has supported Masarang projects since Masarang HK was first established and we are very grateful for the help and support from the Island School community! After a lovely coffee and chat with the principal, Mr Chris Binge, we had a meeting to discuss a wonderful potential support project for a forest and a group of villages in Indonesia. More news later!

After that we met the wonderful Chris Lord, a Food Technology teacher who has also led a group of Island School students to Tasikoki and has carried out great fundraising for the projects. We hope that Chris will be able to arrange for an interschool ‘Bake Together’ this year. We all enjoyed a wonderful sampling session too. Thank you Chris and his students!




After a quick visit to Discovery College to collect Masarang Palm Sugar, which was brought back by the staff and students after their visit to the Tasikoki Rescue Centre last year, Willie had to leave Hong Kong for meetings in Indonesia. However, Adrienne was able to meet a team from the VSA who are offering advocacy for Masarang HK. This group, along with two other groups in Y8, is supporting Masarang HK as part of their school Community Service requirement.

The students were polite and most enthusiastic. We hope that more Masarang ambassadors will help us raise awareness in HK of the need to:

Protect endangered Asian species;

Promote Reforestation;

Empower local rainforest communities.








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