My name is Sudirman and I am 50 years old. My wife and I have three children. I have a tourism business; we offer diving and snorkeling facilities. I also have a boat that takes tourists to the diving and snorkeling site, which is quite far. The boat has a glass bottom so people can enjoy the coral reefs without getting wet.
When there are lots of tourists I can earn about Rp 5 million (about $450) a day. When there are only few tourists, I earn only Rp 100,000 to Rp 200,000 a day ($10-20).
Before I got involved in this activity, I spent my days cleaning up the areas around the beach and preparing the diving facilities for customers. I would sweep and clean.
When there are no tourists, I visit my neighbors to help them understand about our concern for conservation, so that our environment is well protected and preserved.
Before the COREMAP program started, I was not so fortunate. It was difficult to survive, because we live in a coastal area with only the sea as our source of livelihood. I looked for ways to survive, but it was hard. I took whatever job I could. But raising a family with three kids—who at the time were still little—was a huge challenge. It was like trying to plant a garden in a place that could not support any life.
When the COREMAP program ended, I decided that our conservation efforts should continue so I developed this idea for an ecotourism business. With ecotourism, we can continue conserving this area in a sustainable manner, so that it remains beautiful.
After my income improved, I could fulfill my duty to help develop this community. My friends and I in ecotourism gave 60 percent of our ecotourism business for supervision of the coastal areas, and for other activities that support conservation.
I now have a brick house. I used to have a very old motorcycle—now I have four new motorbikes. My son is a policeman and my daughter is in college in Makassar (South Sulawesi) studying nursing.
After COREMAP, my life really opened up. I gained knowledge in so many areas, and received training and experience. My life improved and so did my income. I could send my kids to school.