Murum Penan Literacy Programme's Inaugural Graduation

MURUM, Tuesday 15th July, 2014: Perseverance and a strong will to keep up with the rest of the communities have resulted in 341 Penans now being able to read and write.

Ever since joining the Murum Penan Literacy Programme, the groups of Penans are now able to proudly display basic reading skills.

Sarawak Energy in partnership with the Society for the Advancement of Women and the Family, Sarawak (SAWF) have recently completed the Stage I and II of the Literacy Program for the communities in Tegulang and Metalun and are all geared to move on to the next level.

At the Graduation Ceremony for the participants, Sarawak Energy Chief Executive Officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit presented the participants with certificates in a simple ceremony last week, marking a milestone of achievement in the company’s effort to promote education.

In his speech, Torstein acknowledged the efforts of the dedicated facilitators and congratulated the participants for their commitment and perseverance in the programme.

“I am extremely happy and proud to see that the Penans are now receiving education. You should be proud of yourselves for making this bold step in wanting to learn. Education is the only way forward for us to further develop ourselves and improve our standard of living.

“It is my sincere hope that you will continue your efforts in the next stage of the literacy programme,” he said.

Accompanying Torstein were Telang Usan YB Dennis Ngau and Sarawak Energy Senior Manager II for Corporate Social Responsibility Jiwari Abdullah.

The literacy programme was initiated to narrow the illiteracy gap among the Penans. According to a ‘Contemporary Ethnography’ survey in 2009, 517 out of 550 Penans in Murum who are of education age were not in school.

The programme started in February 2012 when the first batch of facilitators begun classes in the old longhouses. At first, it catered only for the Penan women, but the number of interested individuals grew and today, there are 30 facilitators from six affected Penan communities conducting literacy classes at their respective longhouses.

Aside from reading and writing, participants are also taught basic arithmetic, personal and leadership development, hygiene and healthy living skills as well as vegetable farming among others.

After the graduation, the stage III program immediately started in which the participants are moving on to learn simple accounting, home economy and will sit for a parenting workshop.

Meanwhile, a similar event was held the following day at Long Wat in Tegulang whereby certificates were handed to the participants residing at Tegulang resettlement area. The certificates presentation for those in Tegulang was done by Sarawak Energy Manager for Social Investment Joanne Tan (陈楚燕).

Sarawak Energy Chief Executive Officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit took the opportunity to speak to one of the participants while presenting him with a certificate as Telang Usan assemblyman YB Dennis Ngau and Sarawak Energy Senior Manager II for Corporate Social Responsibility Jiwari Abdullah (left) looks on.

One of the participants, Ronny Ngo, displays his reading skills for all to hear during the certificate presentation event.

Participants of the Murum Penan Literacy Programme gather for the certificate presentation.