Meet iRob: Chatbot Aims To Save the Mentawai Tribe of Indonesia

Introducing the first Australian not-for-profit bot to engage donors

IEF Chatbot (Graphic: Business Wire)

MELBOURNE, Australia--()--The Indigenous Education Foundation (IEF), in partnership with Gupshup, the world’s leading chatbot platform, is proud to announce a historic event: the launch of the conversational chatbot to help Indonesia’s Mentawai tribe save their Indigenous culture. In addition to a plethora of educational tools, the bot content flow is designed to replicate one-on-one conversations that IEF volunteers have with the members of the public wanting to know more about IEF and how their donations will be used.

The fact of this being Australia’s premier not-for-profit chatbot is a big deal: Australians are among the most charitable people on the planet. The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) has released the “Australia's Charities in 2014” report, showing the sector is a $103 billion industry employing almost one in 10 Australians! The report demonstrates how there were more than 54,000 Australian charities that reported a combined total income of $103.4 billion.

Mentawai is situated 150 km off the coast of West Sumatra, Indonesia and is a renowned location for surfers worldwide. The Mentawai people are challenged with maintaining their language, culture and identity in the face of increasing commercialisation and acculturation. Living with the Mentawai over the past 10 years, IEF Director (and avid surfer) Rob Henry formed the Foundation to empower displaced Indigenous peoples to develop cultural and environmental-based education programs as a prevention to long-term poverty.

“There is a lot of information about the IEF, Mentawai program and our documentary film buried on our website,” explains Mr. Henry, a renowned filmmaker. “Thanks to Gupshup, we have created a smart way to direct viewers toward specific knowledge by utilising the latest in modern technology.” This is how iRob was born. With a bot, customers will be able to do everything they can do on a website or app. Bots impact more aspects of our life than any website or app. Mobile devices are already ubiquitous, and bots will be more ubiquitous than apps.

Beerud Sheth, CEO Gupshup, says: “This is the smartest and most efficient way for people to learn about IEF and the work they’ve been doing with the Mentawai tribespeople over the past 10 years.”

Vikas Srivastava, Chatbot Evangelist for Gupshup in Australia adds: “Conversational chatbots are the best way for volunteers to communicate with Australian donors and beyond.” This streamlined experience helps to navigate a complicated subject matter. For users, the conversations will be easier than surfing through the IEF website.

Mr. Henry and IEF are on their way to a goal of raising $1 million in donations for Indigenous education. His #wafsac (“watch a film, save a culture” is a rallying cry: Mr. Henry’s film, “As Worlds Divide” (, has screened to sell-out crowds across Australia and been hosted by wafsac ambassadors in over 22 countries around the world - with all proceeds going towards Mentawai’s Indigenous education program.

Here’s how to activate the bot on your smartphone: (add in iRob button link, the SMS mechanism and the code).

1) URL -

2) Scan code - (see attached image)

3) SMS mechanism: In Australia, users can text ‘irob’ to +61 416 905 444 to receive the chatbot link


RLM Public Relations
Jon Lindsay Phillips, +1-646-828-8566


RLM Public Relations
Jon Lindsay Phillips, +1-646-828-8566