Baram Penans Complete Basic Reading And Writing Course

Some 300 Penans from 8 settlements graduate first stage of Sarawak Energy’s flagship Baram Penan Literacy Programme

BARAM, 30th DECEMBER 2015, WEDNESDAY: Some 300 adult Penans from eight villages in Baram’s interior successfully completing a beginners' level literacy programme and can now read, write and do basic arithmetic.

The Literacy Programme, aimed at addressing the problem of illiteracy while improving personal well-being amongst the Penan community , was initiated by Sarawak Energy as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in partnership with non-governmental organisation, the Society for the Advancement of Women and the Family Sarawak (SAWF).

The programme was initially designed for the Penans in Murum who were affected by the Murum Hydroelectric Plant and has expanded to incorporate Baram Penan communities.

The Baram programme commenced in February 2014, with a total of 312 Penan adults from eight settlements namely Long Lilim, Long Luteng, Long Sengayan, Long Kawi, Ba’ Kabing, Long Daloh Bestari, Long Daloh Asal and Ba’ Abang attending the programme which imparted basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills. Thirty-eight facilitators were trained in the setting up of the literacy classes in all eight settlements.

A simple certificate presentation ceremony was held at Long Luteng community hall here on December 15 to recognise the achievement of the participants and facilitators. There to present the certificates was Jiwari Abdullah, Sarawak Energy Head of CSR accompanied by Stell Sindau, Special Advisor for Community Relations, Joanne Tan (陈楚燕)Manager for Social Investment, Ding Juh, Covering Manager for Community Relations and Maria Peter, trainer from SAWF.

“It is very encouraging to see the positive reaction of participants towards this programme. The enthusiasm to learn and persevere will only see the Penans progressing in the right direction and eventually enabling them a smooth transition into the mainstream of development.

“Education is the only way forward for all of us if we intend to develop at par with the rest of the other communities in this globalized world. I hope this enthusiasm continues and see all of you moving on to the next stage of the programme where you will be exposed to more subject matters meant to improve your living standards and provide equal opportunity to develop,” said Jiwari.

Some 400 adults in Murum had benefited from the globally recognised Murum Penan Literacy Programme which first started in February 2012. This group has now moved on to stage III of the programme. Aside from helping the State Education Ministry set up two primary schools at both Metalun and Tegulang Resettlements, Sarawak Energy went a step further to also narrow the literacy gap among the Penan adults.

Aside from reading, writing and counting, the programme has three stages which address pertinent self-development needs like hygiene, nutrition and health education, essential living skills, home economy and parenting among others.

In addition to this effort, Sarawak Energy continues to support educational growth of the Penan communities in the Belaga district and had recently pledged an annual contribution of RM200,000 to a special education fund set up under the Bakun Charitable Trust. The initiative aims to further motivate young people from the community to strive for educational excellence.

Sarawak Energy Head of CSR Jiwari Abdullah (third right) along with representatives of Sarawak Energy and SAWF in a group photo with participants of the Baram Penan Literacy Programme.

Sarawak Energy Special Advisor for Community Relations Stell Sindau presents a certificate of achievement to one of the participants of the programme as Head of CSR Jiwari Abdullah (right) and Manager for Social Investment Joanne Tan (left) look on.

SAWF trainer Maria Peter (left) facilitates in one of the classes.

The programme also features class activities to make learning fun and interesting.

Past photo of participants at the resettlement area in Murum giving the thumbs up to the programme. The Murum Penan Literacy Programme’s success sees the initiative being expanded to include the Penan communities in Baram through the Baram Penan Literacy Programme.