Published on: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Penampang: Nestle (Malaysia) Berhad together with Raleigh Borneo, a UK-based educational development charity, opened a new Community Learning Centre in Kg. Togudon.
The centre is the company's and Raleigh Borneo's 11th project after building several centres and kindergartens at Pitas, Tongod, Ranau, Sugud and Sook.
The centre serves as a multi-purpose centre for the community and also kindergarten, which can cater to 40 to 50 pupils aged between two and six years old.
Nestle's Executive Director, Group Corporate Affairs, Zainun Nur Abdul Rauf said the building not only functioned for children but also for the community.
"The building serves as place for children to gain education and women to increase their family income," she said, adding that they would continue to have more projects in Sabah.
Partners of Community Organisations Sabah (PACOS) Executive Director Anne Lasimbang also said the villagers now will have more space for community gathering, women to enhance their crafting and sewing skills and youths to run various activities during their semester break.
The construction of the centre, which began in October, was completed in nine weeks with the help of 36 Raleigh volunteers and some of the local villagers.
Raleigh volunteer Florentine Van Arxel, 19, a high school graduate from Holland, said she had special experiences throughout the building of the centre.
"When we arrived here ten weeks ago, we stood here and saw nothing but roots and with great effort we managed to build the centre. It is great to see the children coming in grabbing the chairs," she said, adding that the centre is a big step for the community and education is important because it reflects the beginning of their lives.
"I put all my effort in building the centre and would love to return and visit this place again in the future with my parents," she added.
Raleigh, together with PACOS helped Nestle to identify the areas in East Malaysia, which has the highest need for communal and pre-school facilities, in terms of remoteness of the village, number of villages, young children, as well as the communal and schooling facilities in surrounding areas.
The funds are used to pay for the cost of construction, sponsorship of Raleigh volunteers and sponsorship of Nestle products as nourishment for the volunteers.
Nestle had spent an average of RM56,000 for each project whereas Raleigh volunteers acted as Project Managers for the projects and provided young volunteers who are the main source of manpower in building the kindergartens and Community Learning Centres.
Community Learning Centre, Kg. Togudon Chairman Domisin Gosungkit said the villagers had waited a long time to have such facility and was happy about it as there are a lot of children in their village at the moment.
Villager Lucia Kolimin, 36, also said that she was happy with their village having such facility because she can now send her children to the kindergarten.
"I can now send my children to the kindergarten because the government schools here do not accept children at the age of five as they want them to acquire the basics first. I am also glad that I can send my children there instead of leaving them at home whenever I go to the farm," she said.