Thursday, 6 March 2014

Sharing dreams through Impian Sarawak project

The task is not too heavy when shared. Picture shows the villagers and city folk join hands in building a plankwalk and a jetty in Rassau.
A young volunteer learns from two Rassau elders.
The villagers are skilled in plankwalk construction.

SIBU: City folk joined hands with villagers of Rassau along Igan River to build a jetty and belian plank walk for DAP’s surreal Impian Sarawak project.

The 15 city folk, in their 20s, from Peninsular Malaysia and Kuching packed their bags and left the comfort of the city to stay for eight days in the village, about an hour speedboat-ride from here, to help a community of 500 families from nine longhouses rebuild their crumbling plank walk and jetty.

Sibu MP Oscar Ling, who is a coordinator for DAP’s Impian project, said although this was only a minor gotong royong project, the goodwill and friendship generated by people from two different worlds were imprinted in their memory as they learned about the harmony of being true Malaysians.

“These volunteers responded to our call – they are paying for their own air tickets, food and lodging to work with the villagers to upgrade their living.”

He said the volunteers arrived on Feb 23 before leaving for Rassau by express boat.

“For eight days, they stayed, ate, slept and worked with the villagers.”

Ling said the Impian project was funded by public donations, so the community project connected people through sharing and learning about the task of living.

“Impian Sarawak was born last year as DAP went into the heartland of Sarawak.”

He said their first project kicked off at Bengoh in Kuching last October when volunteers from Peninsular Malaysia, including professionals, installed pipes to bring clean mountain water to the village.

“In five months, we accomplished six rural projects, including the 160-foot belian plank walk and jetty for Rassau. We still have another four projects to go.”

Ling said the Rassau Impian project was the first in Sibu and second in central Sarawak.

He said the first in the central region was in Pekan, where they brought clean water to villagers by building a mini dam on a highland.

Ling said the Impian Sarawak project brought together Malaysians with volunteers pooling together their resources.

He said they invited the volunteers via their website so this humanitarian work could reach all corners of the country.

“We now have 300 volunteers registered with Impian Sarawak. We are appealing through the website for donations to carry out future rural projects.”

He said their Impian team would survey the needs of a village before coming up with an action plan.

“A worthwhile project will be implemented within three months after the survey. The criterion for the project is that it must be for the community, and not for personal gain.”

For the Impian project in Rassau, the team visited the village numerous times to survey and assess the situation.

“Then we selected the volunteers and with the public donation fund, bought the construction materials.

“In Impian Sarawak, we are building goodwill, friendship and dreams as we get people to work together.”

Ling was happy the Rassau folk were skilled in construction of plank walk and jetty, which made their task easier.

He said the volunteers stayed in the downstream village while he and the others arranged for provisions, and the villagers would cook.

The grand moment for the completion of the Rassau project came last Saturday.

The re-built infrastructure was launched by Ling, Pelawan assemblyman David Wong and Petaling Jaya assemblyman Rajiv Rishyajarab.

Ling said: “From Rassau, we are moving on to Bintulu. Malaysians and Sarawakians still have dreams to share.”

Ling appealed to locals to take part in their Impian Sarawak project too. - theborneopost

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