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Educating and Empowering the Orang Asli Community

01 Mar 2018

“We rise by lifting others”- Robert Ingersoll

It has always been evident that the epitome of success is when one is able to contribute back to the society and give enormous benefits towards the community. Fueled by this principle, a total of 31 students from multiple IMU programmes led by See Hui Qi and Lim Ee Jun put together a massive effort to transform their ardor into reality by organising an outreach programme at Kampung Orang Asli Hulu Kemensah which involves general health screening, nutrition counselling and health education programme. This initiative is a culmination of ideas from the IMU Student Ambassadors 2017/2018 programme, as all the committee members are a part of this programme.

This initiative is parallel with IMU’s vision, which aspires to create a community of scholars and professionals who are committed to serve the society. In this outreach project advised by Dachaini Karuppiah from Student Service Hub, volunteers are able to work together to educate and empower the Orang Asli community with regards to their health and hygiene, and also understand the importance of multidisciplinary approach in health system under the guidance of Dr Sasikala Devi from Clinical Skills Centre and Ng Kar Foo from Division of Nutrition with Dietetics. In order to achieve holistic intervention towards the villagers, the team has worked closely with Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli (JAKOA) and the Chairperson of Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung (JKKK), Mr Jamil.

This outreach project receives great feedback from the Orang Asli villagers as it includes health education booths that are often ignored in general visits, together with the fact that the volunteers are able to communicate and mingle well with them while imparting knowledge. Few basic necessities like toothbrush, toothpaste and soap are also handed to them in order to ensure long term impact of this project.

Most of the Orang Asli villagers are Temuan, who are able to speak fluent Malay and this ease the participants’ communication with them. Many of the male adults in the community earn a living by collecting herbs and fruits from the nearby forest while the female villagers work as cleaners. Their income is just adequate to support their basic mode of life, hence hampering them from including nutritious food in their house.

The team was also told that this village received electric supply just before Eid celebration in 2017 and has been depending on the generator prior to that. The village is fairly isolated and the inaccessibility has detrimentally affected the children’s education and exposure of the villagers to the modernisation. Nonetheless, this visit will be the parameter for subsequent visits that are going to be done at the same area to improve and emancipate the villagers’ lives, especially in their health aspect.

Written by Nur Nabila Binti Nasharuddin, one of the committee members for Orang Asli Community Outreach Project. Edited by See Hui Qi, leader of Orang Asli Community Outreach Project

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