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RM157,000 windfall for local community from US group
Published on: Sunday, April 14, 2019
By: Ricardo Unto

TUARAN: Local handcraft makers and entrepreneurs received a RM157,000 windfall in the Rasa Ria Handicraft Market, here, Friday.

The one-night event was organised by Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria for a group of 600 guests from Genesys, a Silicon Valley-based company, who are travelling to the State for a three-day visit.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa General Manager Fiona Hagan said the market was the first Mice (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) initiative of its kind in Sabah where an international organisation is actively involved in supporting the improvement of the livelihoods of the locals.

“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) form an important part of their (Genesys) CSR initiative, while also guiding our actions in contributing positively to the community,” she said. 

“We are grateful to see the passion and determination from Genesys in supporting this community outreach programme that aims to help improve the livelihood of the local community. 

“There is a lot we can accomplish together, and this initiative is a clear example of actions that can support the indigenous communities of Sabah.

“Every little effort to support our indigenous craftsmen goes a long way.  We are fortunate to be in partnership with the Pacos Trust (Partners of Community Organisation) that helped us in putting together this indigenous community market.”

She added that it is important for organisations to help support communities positively.

The handicrafts sold in nine stalls came from the different Community Learning Centres (CLC) located in a few villages along the West Coast, she said.  

“Some of these villages have a small population of 200 to 1,000 who are from the indigenous ethnic groups of Dusun, Rungus, Lundayeh and Murut.  

“To the community, handicraft making is an additional source of livelihood, apart from farming, and Pacos Trust has supported these communities from its inception 25 years ago. 

“Pacos started the CLC with the mission to help the indigenous communities become self-sustaining,” she said. 

One of the featured handicrafts is a woven bag with a motif from the Rungus community called “Kinoriki” or hand-stitched patterns from Liu Pitas, a small village in northern Sabah with 67 families.  

“This rich heritage of delicate embroidery skill passed down from their ancestors, features different patterns such as plants, animals and humans. Bag weaving is the only source of income for the women in this community.”

Through the market, Genesys President Tom Eggeimier said an income of US$39,500 (RM157,000) was generated for the local community.

“A total of RM133,000 was provided for the 600 attendees to purchase items in the handicraft market, in addition to the pre-purchased items such as RM18,000 for bamboo straws and RM6,500 for beads wristbands as welcome gifts for all the delegates,” he said.

The trip, he said, is an annual affair for the software company of about 6,000 employees.

“Every year, 300 employees are selected for such trips and each of them is allowed to bring another person along to travel with them.

“We chose Sabah as we try as much as we could to go to places Americans rarely go…we can go back home and promote the place to others as well.

“And during such trips, we will do charity works as well where we give back to the community, apart from offering new cultural experiences for the attendees.”

Also present was Permanent Secretary to the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry William Baya.



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