The picture of Bintan changes once you travel beyond the entrance to the Bintan Resorts zone. The broad population has by and large been left behind by developments in the tourist zones. This is especially true in the coastal areas where fishing is the main occupation and rising fuel costs, over-fishing and sea travel restrictions have taken their toll on local incomes.
The Island Foundation (TIF) has chosen to work with the coastal communities in E. Bintan and the Riau Archipelago to help improve their income, health and education. In doing so, TIF will address environmental concerns and implement sustainable community-based projects centered on social justice, community organization, mico-finance and entrepreneurialism. TIF believes that poverty alleviation/eradication is the correct long-term goal, in its own right and because so many other issues flow from it in terms of poor education, sub-standard health care, low environmental standards, lack of economic opportunity, pessimism and fixed local hierarchies. All of these things are evident in the Riau Archipelago.
Singapore, as the northern most Riau Island, has many residents who can trace their roots back to Riau tradition, history and culture. The rapid modernization of Singapore has broken this historical connection but at the same time provided a platform from which first world skills, innovation and resources can be tapped into. TIF has begun to build a two-way bridge based on knowledge, skills, culture, tradition and history between the islands of the Riau Archipelago, Singapore and the rest of the world. TIF works in partnership with each target village, employing local villagers and helping them develop the skills with which to take control of their lives and develop a sustainable path out of poverty.
TIF is incorporated and domiciled in Singapore, limited by guarantee and registered as a charity under the Charities Act as of October 2010. In Indonesia, TIF has established Yayasan Peduli Kepulauan Riau.