$10,000 Penan Preschool Award Announced!

We’re happy to announce that we sent $10,000 to our Penan preschools in November!  This award will be used to fund school activities, materials, supplies, and food at three Penan community preschools in Long Latei, Long Belok and Ba Abang, in eastern Sarawak. A very special thank you to Katherine Randolph, who has funded our schools since they were founded 4 years ago, and to everyone who has donated to support the schools.

As the rainforests in Borneo are destroyed and indigenous communities are forced to find livelihoods outside of the forest, many communities are losing their rich cultural heritage. Government schools encourage students to assimilate into mainstream society and actively discourage the use of traditional language and cultural practices. Indigenous languages, stories, art, and dance are therefore being rapidly lost.

The Borneo Project’s Indigenous Education program, which consists of the Penan preschool program and Penan language books, provides culturally appropriate schools and books to indigenous Penan communities across Borneo in an effort to preserve and foster traditional stories, songs, and poems.  Our aim is twofold: to educate the next generation of Penan leaders who can then use their education to help protect their land, as well as their history.

This $10,000 award will go directly towards funding the preschools themselves and will enable us to continue our efforts to preserve the environmental and cultural heritage of Penan communities for generations to come.

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Program History: Since 2008, the Borneo Project has channeled financial and volunteer support to these innovative schools where Penan children learn to read, write, and prepare for school using indigenous language books and materials. Parents and elders learn to read in afternoon classes and teachers, who come from the village, receive continual training and support. Field coordinators visit the villages every seven weeks to bring the teachers’ salaries, food, art supplies and teaching materials. 

Read more about this initiative here: http://borneoproject.org/our-work/ongoing-campaigns/penan-preschool-program.

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Comment by teacher — December 23, 2013

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