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Solar Panels for Orang Asli Households 

By Mei Kuan

On their own initiative, a group of Perakean volunteers installed solar panels for 22 houses in an Orang Asli village named Kampung Tekam in Banting recently.

Houses lit up at night

Made possible by a kind-hearted sponsor who would like to remain anonymous, the installed solar panels would be able to power 3 LED light bulbs in each house for daily usage. 

The team also also presented in-kind contributions such as pre-loved clothes, bags, shoes, toys, stationery and canned food to the villagers who were touched by the effort.

Ipoh Echo spoke to Louisa Loh, who volunteered to cook for the volunteers, to find out more.

In-kind contributions

“Over 80 villagers of all ages here have no access to electricity, water and mobile coverage. For example, they have to walk for an hour to the hilltop in order to get reception! Meanwhile, water is sourced from a nearby waterfall through a pipe. However, the water will be muddy during the rainy season and limited during the dry season. In addition, they have minimal earnings as they hunt and fish for their own consumption while doing some planting on the side,” she explained.

According to Louisa, there is a wooden preschool with a voluntary teacher teaching the basics like the alphabets for two hours per day. The building is in bad condition and thus in need of donation and aid.

“There is no primary or secondary school there. The teenagers have to move out and get a part-time job in order to afford school. One student who managed to gain entrance into college is now the village’s pride!” she added.

Present were three qualified technicians Jatin Seth, Emmanuel and Wilson who set up the solar panels and educated the villagers on the technicalities.

On her voluntary experience, Louisa shared, “The villagers’ favourites were honeydew, blueberries, coffee, claypot chicken rice and chilli paste. Of course, the kids loved the peanut butter jam during breakfast! We received fresh catches of the day as a token of appreciation.”

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Tan Mei Kuan

Tan Mei Kuan graduated with first-class honours and book prize from University of Malaya majoring in languages and linguistics (English). She is proficient in both written and spoken English and Malay. She is also conversant in Mandarin and has knowledge of Japanese and Korean languages. Mei Kuan has been on the Dean’s List for three years running. Having written for the campus newspaper and residential college magazine, joining Ipoh Echo has helped utilise her writing and language skills. In her spare time she enjoys running (races).

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