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Many Cultures, One Voice: Stories inspired by indigenous children of Sabah and Sarawak

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Retrieved on: 19th January 2017


International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples
Protecting the rich tradition and heritage of indigenous peoples and children in Malaysia

The Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) and UNICEF Malaysia recently launched the Many Stories, One Voice book series in conjunction with national level celebrations of the World Day of Indigenous Peoples (WDIP).

The first of its kind, the books capture the wisdom of elders and the traditional tales and ways of life of Indigenous Peoples of Sabah and Sarawak in pictures and photographs – to live on in the hearts and imaginations of generations of children.

“Traditionally, Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge, practices and stories are transferred from generation to generation verbally, through storytelling, usually by an elder often surrounded by children listening attentively,” said UNICEF Representative to Malaysia, Wivina Belmonte. “With the passage of time and with the pace of change, those traditions and stories are gradually being eroded or totally lost.”

Read the Publication:
·          English: Many Cultures, One Voice, 2015  
·          Malay: Pelbagai Budaya, Satu Suara, 2015

Inspired by the WDIP 2012 theme of “Indigenous Media”, JOAS began a project in 2013 with UNICEF support, titled “Content Generation: Documen­tation of Indigenous Peoples’ Stories, Practices and Knowledge in Relation to Children and Child Development in Sabah and Sarawak”.

As part of the program, young people from different indigenous communities in Sabah and Sarawak were trained to document the stories of their elders. These stories are told by indigeneous elders, relevant to the history and development of children from Ampungoi in Pitas, Kiau Nuluh in Kota Belud, Bantul in Pensiangan in Sabah and Ba’kelalan in Lawas, Punan Bah in Belaga dan Jagoi Gunong in Bau, Kuching in Sarawak.

“We also hope that these stories will be an “eye-opener” to the readers to the rich tradition and heritage of indigenous peoples and children in Malaysia that needs to be protected and harnessed for their own development and wellbeing,” added JOAS President Thomas Jalong.

World Day of Indigenous Peoples (WDIP).

WDIP is observed annually on 9 August to promote and highlight the rights of the world’s indigenous peoples; as well as to recognize the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve many of the world's issues such as environmental protection and climate change.

In Malaysia, the day is organised by the Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS), an umbrella organisation of more than 89 indigenous grassroot organisations from all over Malaysia. Several local indigenous organisations in Sarawak, led by the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), hosted the 2015 national celebrations from 7 to 10 August.

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