Volunteers from a Malaysian company and an NGO provided assistance recently to the Chewong village at Kuala Gandah. According to a news post last week in The Sun Daily, a Malaysian English-language news source, personnel from 7-Eleven Malaysia, a branch of the international chain of convenience stores, and people from the organization NGOHub Asia cooperated to help the Chewong villagers.

A 7-Eleven convenience store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A 7-Eleven convenience store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Photo by Unknown 19736 in Wikipedia, Creative Commons license)

It is clear from images on Google Earth that the Chewong community, labeled as Kampung Sungai Enggang in the news story, is the same place that was previously described by visitors and anthropologists as “The Gateway Village.” It lies at the entrance to the large Krau Wildlife Reserve and is next to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre.

According to the news story, Ms. Zawiyah Ali discovered the poor conditions of the 30 families living in the Chewong village and inspired the work party to help the Orang Asli people out. The volunteers from the convenience stores and the NGO furnished stationery supplies, educational posters, and floor mats in order to provide a better educational environment for the children in a six-year-old learning center in the village.

A Chewong village house on September 25, 2004
A Chewong village house in September 2004 (Photo by Marcus Ng on Flickr, Creative Commons license)

After helping the learning center, the volunteers spent time clearing out water drainage systems and cleaning common areas of the village. They then gave out “essential provisions and goodie bags” for the villagers to take home. Ronan Lee, a marketing general manager for 7-Eleven Malaysia worked along with the others in the village and expressed his pleasure at the positive reception by the Chewong for the help they’d been given.

Mr. Lee hoped that the learning center will be better equipped to help the Chewong children further develop their skills and their knowledge. Furthermore, he hoped the public at large would follow the lead of 7-Eleven by assisting the community with welfare and education programs. Zawiyah expressed her gratitude as well. She said that members of the community could also use donations and assistance with their medical care.