The Great Projects

IAR Orangutan Sanctuary

Ketapang, Indonesia show on map

Assist with the rehabilitation of great apes by volunteering at International Animal Rescue's orangutan sanctuary!

About the Project

International Animal Rescue (IAR) is an organisation dedicated to the rescue and safe rehabilitation of animals worldwide. Through this particular project, IAR have directed their efforts towards Indonesian Borneo’s orangutan population, which is constantly under threat from deforestation and capture by humans. Since the centre opened its doors in 2010, an incredible 170 orangutans have been rescued, with a further 40 being released - so why not become a part of the project's efforts?

By becoming an orangutan volunteer, you will provide support across an array of important activities such as enrichment, maintenance and construction. Without your help, this project may not be able to take in, rehabilitate and release the orangutans that are in such desperate need of sanctuary care, and you will leave feeling that you have actively contributed to the ongoing work of a remarkable conservation project.

Prior to Arrival

In order to join this project, you will need a tourist visa. You will be able to get one of these on arrival into the country of Indonesia, but please note that you will have to pay for this there and then when you arrive at the airport. Please speak to an embassy to obtain information regarding the cost of visas.
You will need to arrive at Ketapang Airport on the start date of your project between 7am and 5pm, where you will be met by a project representative in the arrivals hall and transferred by road to the volunteer house. Ketapang Airport can be reached via Jakarta and is serviced by Garuda Airlines.

Typical day

First Day

Arrive at Ketapang Airport in West Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo where you will be met by a member of the team and transferred to the volunteer house which will be your home for the duration of the project. Upon arrival, there will be a welcome dinner and orientation with the project staff and your fellow volunteers.

Regular Days

During this time you will be working six days a week at the centre and getting involved with a variety of activities. The work varies greatly month by month due to the unpredictable nature of what takes priority on a day to day basis. You can expect to take part in any of the following tasks:


You will work at IAR’s temporary wildlife conservation and rescue centre in Ketapang, on the construction of the much-needed, new orangutan sanctuary. With the centre expanding, you may partake in helping to erect electric fences and mix concrete to make bases for new cages to stand on. You may also work on the building of boardwalks and bridges to make access easier for personnel, as well as new climbing towers and feeding platforms for the orangutans in the forest school.


Due to the damp tropical nature of the area and the boisterousness of the orangutans, boardwalks and towers often need general upkeep and repair. The insides of buildings need repainting and cages regularly need their structural enrichment changed.


You will also be involved in the process of producing enrichment for the resident orangutans. This promotes natural behaviours and will enhance the potential for rehabilitation to release as well as improve the lives of the orangutans. Please note that there will be NO direct contact with orangutans during this or any other activity but you will get the chance to watch them from a safe distance enjoying the enrichment you have created.

Farming and planting:

To help keep the food bills down the centre is growing its own local produce to help feed the orangutans. This involves activities from planting fruit trees and harvesting vegetables to making organic compost. As more land is being bought, some areas of it need may also need reforesting.


Due to the wildfires of 2015, tens of thousands of hectares of forest were affected and since then, IAR have been hard at work to replant lost segments of the forest in the hopes of restoring orangutan habitats. The team plans to plant thousands of trees, and this is a great way for volunteers to help make a difference!

Last Days

After saying farewell to the orangutans on your last day of work you will enjoy a farewell dinner with the project facilitators and the rest of your group. The next day you will take a private transfer to Ketapang Airport for your return flight home or to commence your onward independent travel plans.

Details on Arrival

Start Dates

9th and 20th of every month (subject to availability)

Please contact us to check whether your preferred start date is still available!

Free-time activities

On your day off each week, you will get to explore other areas of Ketapang. Hutan Kota is a natural park where you may get the chance to see wild proboscis and macaque monkeys as they make their way to the river's edge to settle for the night. There are also local beaches where you can watch the sunset while drinking from a coconut. The town of Ketapang also has markets, a Buddhist temple and numerous local shops. You will also get the opportunity to visit the old Transit site, though no longer in use by IAR you can see what the centre has evolved from.

Water Sports

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Health Declaration
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
This program requires a fairly high level of fitness, as the majority of the volunteer work involves physical labour in fairly high and humid temperatures.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Suitable for


Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if The Great Projects cancels your trip
Resolution Support
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by The Great Projects.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
The Great Projects (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by The Great Projects

What's included in the price of the project?
Airport transfers
Overland transportation
Accommodation and meals as indicated
All volunteering activity equipment
Local guides
English speaking project leader
Conservation donation

Airport Pickup at Ketapang Airport

You will need to arrive at Ketapang Airport on the start date of your project between 7am and 5pm, where you will be met by a project representative in the arrivals hall and transferred by road to the volunteer house. On the first night, there is a welcome dinner where you will meet all of your fellow volunteers and the project facilitators. Ketapang Airport can be reached via Jakarta with a change over in Pontianak - please do not be late arriving into the country, as this may mean that you miss out on your welcome meal.


On arrival, you will be transferred to the project accommodation, which consists of rented houses around a 30-minute drive from the centre. Your house will be shared with other volunteers and comes with toilets, showers and bed linens, as well as communal areas. There are also cooking facilities in the volunteer houses where meals can be prepared. Please note that whilst this accommodation is far from luxurious, it is practical, and the cold water of the washing facilities will come as a welcome respite from the humid rainforest climate!

Dorm Room Guesthouse Hotel
Food & Beverages

Two meals per day will provided for you during your time here, Monday to Saturday. Please note that breakfast will be of your own cost. but there are shops in the nearby towns for you to pick up essentials such as cereal and bread. Lunch and dinner will be pre-prepared for you by the project staff, and can be tailored to your dietary needs - just let us know in advance! Please note that if you have a day off at the weekend you will need to pay for a meal in a nearby restaurant.

Internet Access
Sorry, no access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Ketapang Airport (KTG) in Ketapang. We assist you to find cheap flights to Indonesia.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Indonesia provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Indonesia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Indonesia.
Costs (Prices in USD)
12 days (min. stay)
3 weeks
23 days (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Ketapang/Indonesia between 12 days and 23 days. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Great Projects will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Indonesia.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with {} during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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