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We all have stories of unusual first days in new jobs, but imagine starting work as a recruiter at a pulp and paper company and for your first task being asked to source an elephant handler.

This was 35-year-old Henny Sumarlin’s experience over a decade ago, when she joined PT RAPP as a graduate recruitment trainee in 2005. She would never have imagined her first task as a recruiter would be having to recruit a mahout.

Henny recalls thinking that her supervisor was joking initially. “I remember asking myself – what would a pulp and paper company need an elephant keeper for?

Sarmin’s family is larger than most. Not only does he have nine children, but some of them weigh over four tons each.

Sarmin works as a mahout in APRIL’s Elephant Flying Squad, taking care of the elephants he considers to be a part of his family. For more than a decade Sarmin, his wife and three children have called Ukui Estate in Sumatra’s Riau province home, and the six elephants part of their extended family.

"Basically the elephant has feelings, just like humans,” he explains. “So I have to treat her like I treat my children. The elephant is sometimes very sensitive, so I have to make the elephant feel comfortable.”

Pelawan Regency is rich in natural resources, helping APRIL to grow the local economy. But it is rich in human resources too, and it was with that in mind that APRIL subsidiary RAPP set up the Future Athlete Training Center (PPLAMD).

Launched in 2007 with the support of the then-Mayor, PPLAMD provides training to promising young athletes from the local community. It focuses on three sports chosen for their popularity in the area: karate, badminton and tennis.

Sundari Berlian, Community Development Manager at RAPP, praised the dedication of the 140 students, who have to combine training with their schooling. In the first half of 2017 they won a total of 40 domestic medals, including 19 golds, and five international medals, two of which were gold.

2010 was a big year for Izwan, a native of Tanjung Padang Village, Meranti Island District, Riau. Along with some other Tanjung Padang residents, he established Karya Bersama Cooperative in order to help develop the local community. Karya Bersama Cooperative then became a partner of APRIL subsidiary PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP).

The cooperative initially provided two canal boats to support RAPP’s operations but, as the company grew, nine more were added in 2015. “We also bought a water tanker and Colt diesel truck to support PT RAPP’s activities in Pulau Padang,” said Izwan.

 

Izwan’s business continued to grow and, after being contracted to manage a nursery for PT RAPP, was employing 50 members of the local community. 

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