SALY-B: Getting To Know The Community

25th June 2017

A Warm Welcome

Raleigh has been working with the Rumantai community since 2012, and the building of the community hall was originally a Raleigh project. The community is familiar with having Raleigh people around, and Nadya, one of our Malaysian Volunteer Facilitators (VFs), said they received a very warm welcome; “They welcomed us like family almost immediately. We had a huge lunch in the community hall, where they were also working together as a village to carry out some repairs to the building. The village is really cohesive and friendly – it was great.”

Repairs being carried out to the community hall.

The VF team will be staying together with a host family, and they were quickly welcomed there too. Aurelia, originally from Germany, says, “We’re feeling very comfortable with the place we’re staying. The couple we’re with want to convert their home into a guest house, and the husband is participating in the SALY-B programme as well. That means it’s a great opportunity to directly experience how the programme will make a difference to someone’s new business.

Exploring the Local Area

As well as getting to know the community and their host family, the VF team also went out on a jungle trek with members of the community. “The trek was amazing,” says Corin, our Sabahan VF and Raleigh alumni; “It wasn’t a typical trek I’d normally do. The jungle was different to any of the jungle I’ve been in before. When we reached the river, it was safe for everyone to go in and cool off.”

Exploring the local area.

“You could see the logging area as well as the primary forest. The community members accompanying us explained how the rubber production worked, and we could see how the village had started to map out jungle treks. So, as well as socialising with the community, the trek gave us a good idea of how they want to develop their 250 hectares of land. They want to build green eco-tourism opportunities – and it’s amazing how they’re pulling together as a whole community to achieve this.”

Getting Involved in Community Life

The Rumantai community is predominantly Christian, and so the VFs went to church to experience this important part of their village life. Harriet, our VF from the UK, says, “We went to church on Sunday and spent more time with the community. It was Father’s Day as well, so the children all did a performance for the dads. We got a really nice welcome and everyone was really happy to see our faces there. After church the community cooked for everyone in our host house. Everyone just turned up with massive pots of curry and rice; it was amazing.”

Corin celebrating catching two fish in their host family’s pond

Working Together

The SALY-B project works in the Heart of Borneo and is currently focussed in Telupid and the surrounding area. Aurelia explains how the SALY-B enterprise programme will be structured; “We’ll be alternating our schedule, spending one week in Rumantai delivering training, followed by one week travelling around to see all the participants in their own communities. There are only ten houses in Rumantai – it’s tiny – but during our SALY-B project we’ll be expecting participants from other villages too. They’ll be staying in the community hall during the week, and the community are really looking forward to welcoming them.”

Since their PPV, Nadya, Aurelia, Corin and Harriet have used time back in Fieldbase to start their detailed planning ahead of the start of the enterprise training. They’ll need to create lesson plans for everything they do, which is a lot of preparation – but as Aurelia says; “We work well together and make a strong team, which always helps!”


Look out for more from the Volunteer Facilitators and the SALY-B project as they start to deliver their training and get to know their community even better.

Read more about SALY-B and our Volunteer Facilitators here

Youth In Civil Society Malaysian Borneo