Why are you involved in this work?
I have always been interested in educational work among my Orang Asli community as we are still very much left behind in that aspect. I am also passionate in advocacy work with the various Orang Asli communities. There is a great need to push on the importance of education among my community, as it is an important factor to help us continuously improve and succeed in life.
What keeps you going?
As an Orang Asli myself, I have had first-hand experience and see many challenges in my community. We are still really left behind in many aspects. One prevalent issue is that we lack the awareness and understanding on ways to help our own children succeed in education. Seeing Orang Asli children successfully complete their education with good grades, and securing a good job to be able to provide for themselves and their family motivates me to keep doing what I do.
Why is this work important to you?
There are some experiences that I will never forget. In the year 2015, I was elected by as the Vice President of the Parents Teacher’s Association of Sekolah Kebangsaan Slim Village. It was a monumental moment for me as it was the first time an Orang Asli candidate was elected. At that time, the school was facing some challenges in addressing the lack of interest and cooperation from the Orang Asli parents regarding their children’s poor attendance and academic performance at school. I took the opportunity to talk to the parents to invest time and be involved in their children’s educational matters. Over time and after much persuasion, I managed to convince the parents on the importance of education. There have been positive changes within the Slim River Orang Asli community where parents are now more involved and concerned about their children’s education.This has also resulted in their children doing better in school.
Within the SUKA Society community pre-schools, I have organized many meetings to advocate and push for education, and bring educational issues to light among the parents and community members. During these meetings, parents often share the challenges they face. I often provide guidance and advice to parents that they can play an important role in shaping their children’s future by being involved in their education.
By journeying with the communities, I am able to see positive changes when parents are playing an active role in their children’s education. We see that their children are more confident and stable in school. I hope that with all this, we gradually improve the quality of education among Orang Asli children for a better future for us all.
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