DiGi celebrates completion of wetlands garden and resource centre in Kuala Gula
100 primary school children show off fruit of their labour to VIPs
Kuala Gula, November 16, 2005 – This evening, 100 primary school children who took part in DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd’s The Wetland Restorer of Perak stood proud while Minister from the Prime Minister’s Department (National Unity and Integration) YB Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili toured the wetlands garden and resource centre they had helped build earlier in the year.
For 10 days during their school holidays beginning end May, the children spent entire days at the compound of Sekolah Kebangsaan Kuala Gula, where they physically dug up and planted the wetlands garden and spruced up a disused teachers’ quarters to convert it into a resource centre. Today, the garden and resource centre are used by the Co-Curricular Department of the Ministry of Education for trips to study the ecology of the wetlands.
The young “wetlands ambassadors” also took part in many other educational activities aimed at increasing their awareness of the environment, especially the wetlands. Leading the project was DiGi’s Amazing Malaysian, conservationist Balu Perumal.
Kuala Gula, on the northern fringe of the Matang Mangrove Forest, Perak, is an important stop for migratory birds – including the endangered Milky Stork – while its rich waterways support an entire community of some 7,000 fisherfolk.
At the “Showcase” of The Wetland Restorer of Perak – namely the official closing of the project - Datuk Dr Ongkili said: “I am happy that in this DiGi’s Amazing Malaysians project, the government’s efforts to raise awareness and initiate conservation programmes have been mirrored by the community. It is heartening to see that with the right kind of cooperation between government and the private sector, one ordinary individual has been enabled to make an extraordinary contribution to the local community.”
“I understand that remote communities throughout the nation are benefiting from similar Amazing Malaysian heritage projects. Given my focus on national unity and integration, I find this project particularly compelling in the way it has drawn children of different ethnic communities to work side by side, gaining insights into each others’ lives and culture along the way,” he added.
DiGi’s Chief Executive Officer Morten Lundal said the evening was particularly significant as it marked the completion of the telecommunications’ company’s first Amazing Malaysians project. “Whether the endangered white egrets have a home in the mangroves of Kuala Gula or disappear altogether will depend on whether or not we have sowed the seeds of wise management today. Whether or not there continues to be a thriving fishing industry here will depend on building a keen sense of sustainability and conservation in the hearts of each and every person in the community,” he said.
Morten added that in the process of growing the garden and resource centre, “what also grew was genuine love, caring and sharing, which helped bridge the socio-economic, cultural and ethnic divides.”
While the implementation of the project in itself was an experience the children will never forget, the fact that their work was being recognised by no less than a Minister made them feel all the more special. That feeling was heightened by the “extra perks” of the night – performances by popular singer Zainal Abidin and the Aseana Percussion Unit.
The Wetland Restorer of Perak was the first DiGi’s Amazing Malaysians project to be launched. Other projects under DiGi’s new corporate social responsibility banner include The Traditional Architect of Terengganu, The Lion Dancer of Muar, The Knowledge Keeper of Sarawak and The Storyteller of Perlis, which was launched just two days earlier, on November 14, 2005.
About DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd
DiGi is a leading mobile communications company providing a comprehensive range of affordable, convenient and easy-to-use wireless services to simplify and enrich the lives of its customers. The company creates value by selecting the most appropriate cutting-edge technology so that customers benefit from products and services that give them choice, convenience and control.
About DiGi’s Amazing Malaysians
DiGi’s Amazing Malaysians is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme which identifies passionate individuals who, quietly but with dedication, work towards preserving Malaysia’s natural, social, art, cultural or built-up heritage heritage. DiGi provides resources for these ordinary people doing extraordinary things to share their knowledge and skills with groups of 50-100 children or youth. Most of the projects are centred in rural locations, and the children involved come from the surrounding areas. This way, DiGi is able both to support commendable heritage work, and to introduce children to the rich tapestry of culture and tradition that makes up Malaysia’s unique heritage.