Education the way forward

BETTER FUTURE: Penan folk believe it will improve their children’s lives.

Sarawak Energy Bhd employees with the Penan community at the Tegulang resettlement site in Murum, Sarawak, recently. File pic

MURUM: EDUCATION is the only way to progress in the modern world, regardless of race and creed.

Lingok Nyipa, a Penan from Long Wat, believes his nomadic way of life cannot sustain his family in the face of development in Sarawak.

“I want my children to have a better future.

“I want them to be educated. I used to walk for days or even weeks just to reach the nearest town for supplies.

“I feel we are far behind because of a lack of education.

Lingok is a member of one of the 89 households from Long Wat who were relocated to the Tegulang resettlement site recently.

His community was one of the seven affected by the Murum hydroelectric dam project.

The others are Long Malim and Long Malim Kenyah Badeng. Communities from Long Menapa, Long Luar, Long Tangau and Long Singu will be relocated to another site in Mentalun.

At Tegulang, the affected communities are given 15ha of land for longhouse and agriculture, as well as access to 19,500ha of forests for roaming, hunting and food gathering.

“There is a school in front of the longhouse and a clinic. I do not know my real age.

“I want my children to know their age.”

A recent survey by Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) showed that out of 550 Penans, aged between 7 and 12, only 33 attended school.

by Dennis Wong.

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