PENAMPANG – The development and preservation of the cultural heritage of indigenous people of Sabah is an important aspect of Partners of Community Organisations in Sabah (PACOS).
The community-based organisation’s endless dedication in supporting the indigenous communities of Sabah has impressed upon the local communities in many areas of Sabah on the importance of having a continuity in their culture, knowledge, tradition and heritage.
Norizah Stephen, 27, a Sungai Kalabuan woman from Kampung Imusan, Tongod who is one of many who participated in the Community Education Programme, a part of the PASCOS programmes told SayangSabah that she never thought about preserving and passing down her community’s heritage to the new generation.
“I never knew that there is so much our community could offer. For me, our culture and heritage are part of our daily life. It is something that we take for granted.
“Our traditional handicrafts, culture, language, native customs, landowning practices and others that are closely related to indigenous knowledge are gradually vanishing, but because of PACOS we now want to revive what we can and passed down to the next generation,” she said.
According to Norizah, under the Community Education Programme, the establishment of Community Learning Centre (CLC) provides the community’s formal education, which acts as a preschool for children under the age of 6. The Centre also runs a non-formal education programme that imparts skills and traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples.
“There are fewer than thirty families in Kampung Imusan and most of the children do not go to school; so the community learning centre plays a major role in providing education to these children,” she said.
The nearest school is a 2-hour journey by boat from the village.
Anjelen Darasun, the Socio-Economic Development Officer of PACOS said the centre is a place where parents and experienced people share skills with one another. She shared that besides teaching the children in preschool, they also teach primary school children and youth during the school holidays.
“The centre is used by the community to share traditional knowledge,and trainers are older people who are experienced, knowledgeable and proficient in traditional customs such as education, native dialects, handicrafts, traditional medicine, and other skills,” she said.
She disclosed that the activities and program organised by PACOS are funded by NGOs and companies such as Shell, European Union and Swedish Society for Nature Conservation among others. – SayangSabah