In 2001, Jalinan Siswa Bersama Masyarakat Asli Club was established with the mission to develop a well-rounded aboriginal, or locally known as Orang Asli students who possess good moral values together with the vision to enhance and improve their social economy. This mission was carried on into 2019 when JASA held an educational camp on environment called JASA Mentoring Enviro Camp. The camp took place on the 11th October to 13th October 2019 at Kuala Rompin, Pahang. The participants came from Pusat Intelek Pelajar Orang Asli (Orang Asli Intellect Centre) or PIPOA from the neighbouring aboriginal villages.
JASA realised that there was a need for the students from PIPOA to learn more about the environment when there were reports of environmental negligence and pollution happening surrounding the Orang Asli community. This subsequently hindered their everyday lives and stunted their ecotourism which is also one of the main economic activities for the community. The club took the responsibility to approach PIPOA and develop learning modules for PIPOA’s students on the importance of caring for the environment.
25 IIUM students, accompanied by representatives from Centre for Community Engagement and Services (CENSERVE), IIUM, took part in organising the 3-day camp. Carrying the theme “Save the Environment”, this camp was to promote the creation of a clean environment for the betterment of the society. In order to achieve the objectives of the camp, several implementations have been incorporated that were interactive for the students to apply their knowledge in solving real-life problems.
Throughout the 3-day camp, specific sessions with different activities were held to tackle certain issues thoroughly. For example, during the Fashion Show Session, students were instructed to design a costume using reusable materials such as boxes, plastic bottles, and paper. Students were encouraged to relate the theme of environment. While also promoting the reuse of recyclable items, this session also enhanced the creative thinking skills of these students.
During the stay, the organisers found few major problems concerning the water supply for the villages. Although the facilities such as pipes and water tanks were available, the water source remains polluted and even from the naked eyes can be considered as unsafe and unhealthy to consume. To address this issue, a “Water Filtration” module session was held on the second day. Using the fresh information regarding the state of their water supply, the students were tasked to develop a water filtration unit using materials at their disposal. “Water Filtration” session was held together with “Town Planning” session where students were assigned in groups to create a town model based on three sources of energy ie: Solar energy, Hydro energy, and Wind energy.
“Town Planning” and “Water Filtration” Sessions
The camp reached its climax on the third and final day during the Environmental Explorace session. Here, students were judged based on their prior knowledge of the environment in order to compete. 5 checkpoints with different challenges were established for students to complete. Each of these checkpoints challenged the students in terms of teamwork, critical and creative thinking, and problem solving skills. It could be said with certainty that during this session, the environmental knowledge they had gathered during the camp was put to practice successfully.
From an organiser’s point of view, the take away from this camp is that everyone should be included in the effort of making the world a better place to live. Orang Asli lived amongst nature for generations but due to the rampant modernisation, their next kinsmen will not be able to experience what has become a tradition and culture of Orang Asli. In hopes of preserving and conserving their community, as well as the natural environment they are living in, programs such as this can be the catalyst of change for the future.
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