TRI Hero: Clarissa Auffermann
When I was asked to write my story as a TRI hero, the word hero irritated me at first. Volunteering for TRI doesn’t make me a hero. Much more, it is the TRI team and their concept that seems heroic. When I first met Ayu, Eci, and Annisa, I was in awe of their passionate work and love of the grassroots organization they work for. Listening to their stories of how TRI impacts throughout Indonesia, I soon realized that they are heroes and I am proud to support their ideas and the spreading of their message.
“We are fighting for a more sustainable world in which we can all live in harmony with other humans, the environment and our gods“. These were the powerful words of Eci who gave me further insight into the work of TRI Upcycle. I loved the idea that with each purchase of a TRI product a tree is planted in Kalimantan to restore Indonesian rainforests. Most of TRI’s products such as the bandanas and bags are made out of old bedsheets that can no longer be used in the hotel industry.
It’s unbelievable to imagine that TRI only emerged in 2016 and has not only cooperated with a growing number of grassroots projects, but has also made an impact on conserving Indonesian wildlife and the forests they live in. Furthermore, TRI has partnered with local restaurants by providing the staff with stylish upcycled aprons, napkins and menus made out of yoga mats. By introducing these upcycled products into the Balinese world, not only locals but also a large number of international travelers are exposed to these creative zero waste ideas. TRI uses its products to introduce people to the idea of consuming with a conscience and inspires us to consider our impact on planet Earth. TRI and the organizations it collaborates with lead with a great example and carry this message into the world.
As a primary school teacher, I educate my students about conscious living and discuss possibilities of taking care of our precious world. In recent years, I have always placed an emphasis on Indonesian rainforest conservation and its endangered animals as I have visited Kalimantan, Sumatra and Malaysian Borneo several times in 2012, 2013 and in 2016. Wildlife conservation is a topic dear to my heart and my passion has sparked a fire within all of my students. Since the first moment I have come in contact with TRI, I have considered establishing cooperation between TRI and my future students. I am excited to see what the future holds for TRI and can’t wait to support TRI’s mission now and in the future.
I visited the TRI Upcycle shop called “Orangutans Nest” in Ubud on my first day of volunteering. The beautiful products came alive and many more ideas emerged. I got a feeling of their shop display and fell in love with the handmade products from Ubud, Denpasar, and Java that were beautiful, functional and colourful. With these products, everyone can become a hero by reducing waste in their lives. To me, living consciously and being aware of myself, nature and my place within nature is gaining heroic strength. In that sense, I have started my path on the hero’s journey to reduce my waste and can’t wait to inspire others to do the same. Let’s all be upcycling heroes!