‘A Collection of Stories from Orang Asli’, was launched on 17 October 2018 to signify the completion of an Orang Asli storybook project, which engaged six Orang Asli schools and communities in Selangor.
The aim of this project was to engage pupils from the Orang Asli schools with a particular focus on the teaching of reading and storytelling in English, as well as supporting teachers to organise community events for parents and children. The sharing of traditional stories by parents and elders from the tribe in the Mah Meri and Temuan languages were ultimately translated into simple English, creating a beautifully illustrated storybook.
“Through the gathering of these stories, we hope to support the preservation of the language and culture of these communities and also provide the young learners with tools to share their culture in the English language, with access to books which reflect familiar topics but in the medium of English,” said Sarah Deverall, Director Malaysia, British Council.
The project was run by the British Council in Malaysia with the support of the Selangor State Education Department (JPN Selangor), funded by Hong Leong Foundation and Magicbird Publishing.
The storybook launch event was held at Sime Darby Academy on Carey Island, Selangor and saw performances by teachers, pupils and parents to celebrate the publication of their stories, culminating in the final revealing of the book on stage. Booths were also set up by project teachers and schools in the district, featuring activities from their community and work in engaging pupils in English.
Sue Yian Quek, Director of Magicbird Publishing, said: “This project with the British Council is part of our programme to disseminate stories to build wonder and a love of books. However, more than this, we want to begin a new path where we give away books written by children for other children. We cannot thank our funders, supporters, and the British Council enough.”
JPN Selangor also launched their High Immersion Programme (HIP) module guidebook, which is based on the community events of the project. This guidebook will be distributed to every school in Selangor to help all schools engage their pupils and parents in English.
A total of 16 project teachers, approximately 200 parents and pupils directly participated in the Orang Asli storybook project, with approximately 500 books donated to the school libraries.
The British Council has been working with Malaysia since 1948. In 2018 we are marking this 70th anniversary with a series of events celebrating cultural relations and exchange between the UK and Malaysia.