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말레이시아 원주민 어린이 후원 프로그램

2007.04.03
* Giving an early boost to the next generation of Malaysia's 'original people' * 16 Feb 2007 Old rhythms of life are quickening in this remote community in northern Malaysia. A change of pace that begins with children under six years old. For these young indigenous boys and girls, preschool is a time for fun and food. But it’s giving them something most of their parents never had: a formal education. They are Temiar, one of 18 ethnic groups in Malaysia known as Orang Asli, or “original people.” The Orang Asli have long lived in isolated communities, with little access to proper schools and health care. Some 80 percent of Orang Asli children never complete secondary school. Simah Asir is part of an initiative to change that. She is the teacher of a new preschool built by the Community Development Department of the Ministry of Regional and Rural Development. Her job involves not only managing children, but also dealing with sceptical parents. SOUNDBITE (Bahasa Malay): Simah Asir, Preschool Teacher “Generally indigenous parents are still not very interested in education. They see this preschool as a place to send their children to play and eat. But when they see people from outside the community showing interest in their children, they grow more conscious of the need for education. But it’s hard. We need to do this regularly.” UNICEF and the Malaysian government are working to train some 300 preschool teachers and supervisors, and reach out to more than18 thousand parents and guardians in rural areas. The workshops stress the importance of boosting early childhood development, offering tips on learning activities, nutrition and child psychology. SOUNDBITE (Bahasa Malay): Noor Hayati Bt. Husin, Community Development Department; “We’ve noticed that parents in these communities have very little parenting skills. They are feeding their children extremely unhealthy food and the children are not doing well in terms of development. So we try to teach them why children need an education, why the children need to learn to read and write. Because it really improves their chances later on in life.” Planting skills for a new generation of Orang Asli, so they can craft their own choices for the future. In Gerik, Malaysia, this is Steve Nettleton reporting for UNICEF. UNITE for children.
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