JCLA project alleviates plight of longhouse community

Attendees of the project completion ceremony posing with the newly installed water tank

Miri – 5 October 2012 – Nine student ambassadors of the John Curtin Leadership Academy (JCLA) of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) recently completed a community project that will help alleviate water shortages at Rumah Boniface Bada near here.

The group’s innovative Rainwater Harvesting Project addressed prolonged water shortages at the longhouse located in Suai District by providing a communal water tank with a storage capacity of 13,500 litres which is sufficient to supply the entire community.

Prior to the implementation of the project, families in the community relied on their own rainwater collection systems, many of which were set up haphazardly or in poor condition.

The project team comprised Acting Project Director and third-year chemical engineering student Chin Wan Ching, 21; third-year economics and marketing student Jeremy Low, 21; third-year chemical engineering student Ling Jin Hong, 23; first-year mechanical engineering student Vigneswaran Duraragh, 19; fourth-year mechanical engineering student Tee Kok Wee, 22; second-year management and finance student Albert Marzuki, 20; second-year accounting and finance student Sylvia Ku, 19; and finance and marketing graduate Lim Chung Keat, 23.

A project completion ceremony was held at the longhouse in early September. It was attended by Victor Temenggong Angang, Political Secretary to the Sarawak Chief Minister; Professor Alistair Inglis, Curtin Sarawak’s Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor; longhouse chief Boniface Bada anak Enjah; JCLA facilitators and the eight student ambassadors.

Professor Inglis presenting a souvenir to longhouse chief Boniface Bada anak Enjah

In his speech during the ceremony, Professor Inglis congratulated the student ambassadors for their hard work, adding that their project marks a new beginning for the villagers.

He noted that the project was quite a substantial one for them, started in June last year and completed after a year of progressive construction at a total cost of some RM16,000.

According to Acting Project Director Chin Wan Ching, although the longhouse was built of concrete and looked quite modern, she was taken aback by the fact it did not have piped water and continually faced water shortages. This prompted her and her team members to initiate the project last year.

“We realise that many other longhouses in Sarawak face the same problem and, through the Rainwater Harvesting Project at Rumah Boniface Bada, we hope to highlight this issue to the public and encourage others to carry out similar projects for the benefit of our rural communities,” said Chin.

Chin also acknowledged the generous sponsorships received for the project from individuals and organisations such as Datuk Dr. Stephen Rundi anak Utom, Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Lee Gee Leng, Counsellor of Subis District Council George Thien Chin Sen, Mr. Liu Sin, Premium Renewable Energy, PSMS, Jong Seng Sdn. Bhd., Associate Professor Dr. Beena Giridharan, Wong Seng Hon and Chuah Jia Min.

The JCLA is Curtin University’s student leadership programme developed in honour of John Curtin, the fourteenth Prime Minister of Australia and after whom the university is named. Its objectives are to instil John Curtin’s three core values of Vision, Leadership and Community Service. It has successfully developed outstanding and committed student leaders who are dedicated to community service and promoting entrepreneurial spirit.

For more information on Curtin Sarawak, call +60 85 443939 or visit its website at www.curtin.edu.my. Curtin Sarawak can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CurtinUniversitySarawakMalaysia.

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