UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Nicol David (right) talks to the village headman of Kampung Ulu Tual B (left) about the community’s new learning centre
Development the Orang Asli way

UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Nicol David visits the Orang Asli community to learn about their needs – and their solutions

PAHANG, 4 June 2014 – Squash’s leading lady Nicol David proved that she’s game for anything as she dived into the river with the Orang Asli children during her visit with the indigenous Semai tribe of Kampung Ulu Tual. She also learnt to harvest her own lunch by digging for tapioca, and tried her hand at weaving baskets (a traditional skill that’s tougher than it sounds). The UNDP Goodwill Ambassador spent a day at the village to understand their way of life, as well as to talk with the community about the challenges they face, and the ideas they have to build a better future for themselves.

In fact, the village was in the midst of constructing its very own community learning centre called Cenwey Penaney, which means “tunas pintar” in Bahasa Malaysia or “budding brilliance” in English. The centre is an initiative by the community themselves, a hopeful solution to the struggles Orang Asli students face in getting to school, and staying in school.

The current arrangements for Orang Asli students attending public schools is to either travel a great distance over difficult terrain from their village on a daily basis, or to stay in boarding schools, separated from their families and culture. Having a learning centre in the village helps overcome the issues of distance and homesickness, and also presents the community with an opportunity to make it double as a cultural centre.

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Nicol David's vlog:
My day with the Orang Asli

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