On December 7 2017, the first meeting for the Enriche Program under SWEPA was chaired by our Organizing Chairperson, Datin Jeanette. It was very fruitful meeting with members as well as young and innovative students from University Malaysia Sabah, under the global Enactus Club, guided by their Immediate Past President, Ms Jasmine.
Ideas with shared in a collaborative study will be carried out by both consensual parties to help see more benefits to the rural people in villages by improving their livelihood and ensuring continues sustainability to be self independent.
Core areas we discussed in length and the 3 P’s where mapped out for future implementation – Perserverence, People, Planning.
The students under the leadership of Ms Jasmine will plan a trip by the end of December 2017 to visit Kg Sonsogon Magandai and Kg Sungai Magandai and carry out demographic studies in various areas. Our objectives together will be to improve the living conditions for the village folks and to help them grow and self sustain. Some of the areas that will be look into with great detail will be listed as follows :
Firstly we are very pleased that Enriche program has started a sewing skills program in June 2017, involving six ladies from four different villages to be empowered in learning the trade and art of sewing. This is done together with Epal sewing center in Karamunsing , KK where the ladies was brought once a month from their villages to the Center for a period of six months. We are thrilled to report that they have successfully completed many projects including making knapsacks out of denim jeans as well as other orders such as pencil cases, tote bags and even jewelry pouches.
In collaboration with autism center in KK, we feel proud that our autistic children with their many talents in painting have depicted beautiful painted pictures on these tote bags as well as illustrated Malaysian batik art on the pencil cases which will be offered as selling items to willing buyers and the proceeds will go back into helping the autistics and two children as well as the continuous maintenance of our adopted villages.
The second main area to be focused on is agriculture. For this our university students will conduct thorough checks for soil fertility, availability of water from river sources, weather conditions suitable to planting black pepper, Moringa tree and even hybrid seeds of beans or okra.
We are also keen to start a honey harvesting project. SWEPA has identified a volunteer male named, Bon from our first adopted village, who is very keen on learning this trade in adopting it back to his village as well as teach others for their villages. This will be done together with the help of PACOS who is also the center for ‘kelulut honey harvesting’ in collaboration with Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm , Philippines who will be expanding with their farm village University here in Sabah.
Another equally interesting project is the Birdsnest harvesting. As suggested by our students to build a 4 feet structure erected on top of the existing village houses and transform this into a birds haven for the purpose of collecting and selling as a marketable commodity. As this is highly in demand in South East Asia, the Enactus club students will study the species of birds that visit this village and decide whether swiftlets are in abundance therefore this to generate.
Sabah is rich in much variety of flora & fauna, the study of the different species of plants will also be made at the same time. This will enable us to learn more about the various plans and if there is a potential medical or other benefits from them.
With so many innovative and exciting ideas, SWEPA hopes to continue its work hand-in-hand with others along our journey to the betterment of our brothers and sisters in the rural areas. Let us work together in their echo friendly environment to build their skills and enhance their purpose to create an income and fortify their future to sustain for generations to come.
Let ‘Sabah’ be the role model state to eradicate poverty and bring light and hope to its people.
Dr. Shelly Bhardwaj.
Enriche Program – SWEPA