DiGi launches The Champion of Pahang's Lake Chini
75 school children introduced to lake's ecosystem & lifestyle of orang asli living around it
Pekan, March 12, 2006 -More than 80 secondary school children, including 10 from the Klang Valley, today experienced what it is like to live like an orang asli in a settlement bordering Lake Chini. They also learnt about the fragile ecosystem of Malaysia's second largest freshwater lake.
The students, all participants of The Champion of Pahang's Lake Chini project, went on a boat ride to study the flora and fauna of the lake; visited orang asli homes; had a typical orang asli lunch; learnt orang asli dances and even learnt how to hunt using blowpipes. Leading them in DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd's corporate social responsibility project is environmentalist Bishan Singh, whom DiGi has named one of its Amazing Malaysians for the year 2006.
Bishan is a founder and the current president of the Sustainable Development Network (SUSDEN) Malaysia, based in Kuantan. Two years ago, SUSDEN launched a "Save the Tasik Chini Campaign", for which he acts as an advisor. The ecosystem of Lake Chini is under threat as a result of pollution, siltation and other human activity.
DiGi's project aims at increasing the students' awareness of the deterioration of Lake Chini, and how its protection will serve to preserve one of Malaysia's most beautiful natural heritage sites; and the livelihood of the orang asli who live around the lake.
As Johan Dennelind, DiGi's Chief Financial Officer, said: "There was a time, not too long ago, when this very lake was teeming with fish such as ikan kelisa (arowana) and ikan belida (giant featherback). Today, these fish are extremely rare. There was a time, also, when people would come from all over Malaysia in late September-October to soak in the wondrous sight of lotus in full bloom. Today, the lotus is being threatened by a species of waterweed, and if nothing is done about it, they will soon disappear.
"Indeed, if nothing is done to protect and regenerate Tasik Chini, many plants and animal species will disappear. Tasik Chini will die."
Today's Discovery programme of The Champion of Pahang's Lake Chini introduced the children to the lake and the communities living around it. During the Implementation phase, the children will attend nature camps to intensify their knowledge of the lake's fragile ecosystem and how to protect it. They will learn how to design a website on Lake Chini, produce a video documentary, and create art works depicting the flora and fauna found in and around the lake. These will form part of resources in the Community Information and Education Centre on Tasik Chini.
"Part of the reason we need to save Lake Chini is to protect and preserve its inherent biodiversity value. Another equally important reason is to protect the lifestyle of the five communities of orang asli who live around the lake," says Bishan. "The best way to help them is to educate and empower them. That is why we're establishing the Community Information and Education Centre. This will encourage the orang asli to adopt sustainable practices to protect the lake and, hence, their own livelihood."
The children taking part in this project (including the nature camps) come from four schools: SMK Sultan Abu Bakar, in Kuantan; and Sekolah Menengah Paloh Hinai and SMK Ahmad, both in Pekan. They are joined for just the Discovery programme, by 10 children from La Salle Klang and 15 children from the orang asli community.
The Showcase (official closing ceremony) of the project is expected to be held on July 30, 2006, when the website, videos and art works of the students will be displayed at the new Community Information and Education Centre on Tasik Chini.
About DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd
DiGi is a leading mobile communications company providing a comprehensive range of affordable, convenient and easy-to-use wireless services to simplify and enrich the lives of its customers. The company creates value by selecting the most appropriate cutting-edge technology so that customers benefit from products and services that give them choice, convenience and control.
About DiGi's Amazing Malaysians
DiGi's Amazing Malaysians is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme which identifies passionate individuals who, quietly but with dedication, work towards preserving Malaysia's natural, social, art, cultural or built heritage. DiGi provides resources for these ordinary people doing extraordinary things to share their knowledge and skills with groups of 50-100 children or youth. Most of the projects are centred in rural locations, and the children involved come from the surrounding areas. This way, DiGi is able both to support commendable heritage work, and to introduce children to the rich tapestry of culture and tradition that makes up Malaysia's unique heritage.
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