Hendry Hendry: An Economics Major in Indonesia

Portrait photo of UC Davis student Hendry Hendry

For his Blum Center Summer Project, Hendry Hendry will help an effort by villagers in West Papua to protect their ancestral forests. 

May 13, 2016 — Hendry Hendry’s project as a 2016 Blum Center Summer Fellow will take him home to Indonesia, but to a region vastly different from cosmopolitan Jakarta, where his family lives.

Hendry will work this summer with an organization called Bentara Papua, helping people in two remote villages in West Papua map their forests and identify non-timber sources of income.

The combined population of the neighboring villages of Manggroholo and Sira totals about 450 people. They are mostly indigenous Knasaimos, hunter-gatherers and small-scale farmers who have been resisting efforts by palm oil companies to make inroads into their ancestral forests.

After a week of orientation with Bentara Papua in Sorong, Hendry will make a half-day drive to the villages. He will spend four weeks there, learning what kind of help they need most from the nongovernmental organization. “Basically, I’m going to be an observer. I’m going to follow the activities like community mapping of resources. I need to know how to deliver the help to them.”

He will also work to create a profile of the community’s natural resources, such as the tree sap resin, rattan and bamboo that they harvest from the forests.

Hendry, a junior majoring in economics and minoring in computer science, developed his project with the help of economics Professor Wing Thye Woo as well as researchers in the Blum Center-affiliated D-Lab (Development via Dialogue, Design and Dissemination).

“For the first time, I thought I don’t have to be an environmental major to help with the forest,” Hendry said.

“Every student should get this sort of opportunity to do the project they have in mind,” he said. “You’re going to meet people and make friends for life.”

(Hendry grew up with just one name. It was doubled to give him a surname after he arrived in California in late 2013.)

An avid scuba diver and world traveler, Hendry hopes to work after graduation for a company bringing the Internet to remote communities in Indonesia, which comprises more than 13,000 islands. He also dreams of someday starting his own nonprofit organization to provide vocational training for coastal children and to protect the coral reefs. 

— Kathleen Holder, writes for the Division of Social Sciences, UC Davis College of Letters and Science. Follow her on Twitter @kmholder.

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