Orou Sapulot – Community Projects for Borneo School Expeditions
Most schools like to include an element of ‘giving back’, or service learning, within a school expedition to Borneo. Alongside our Rainforest Conservation Projects, we also run community projects to Sapulot as part of the Orou Sapulot Initiative – both offer great opportunities for service learning as part of a school expedition with Borneo Dream. Sapulot is a remote region in the southwestern interior of Sabah and is home to the Murut – the last ethnic group in Sabah to renounce headhunting – and it is one of the poorest districts in all of Malaysia. Don’t worry, current day Murut hospitality is truly wonderful! Sapulot is off the beaten track and once here it is likely that you won’t see another traveller. At Sapulot, as part of the Orou Sapulot Initiative, we offer community project opportunities that make a real difference to the lives of the communities located here. You’ll also have lots of chances for interacting with the villagers and learning about their rich Murut culture. A community project with the Orou Sapulot initiative is a great activity to include as part of a school expedition to Borneo with service learning and cultural immersion perfectly brought together!
“The knowledge of the area and the possibilities for adventure, service and safety demonstrated on the part of the entire Borneo Dream team truly cannot be beaten. It was obvious that the entire team has a depth of understanding, appreciation and respect for all aspects of Borneo. This connection is immediately felt by every member of the group, making the trips that much more memorable and remarkable. THANK YOU again for taking a non-outdoorsy individual like myself, and groups of students and helping us to develop a HUGE appreciation for the land, the people and the special uniqueness of everything about Borneo!” Teacher and Habitat for Humanity Club Leader, Malaysia
Service Learning and Cultural Immersion with an Orou Sapulot Community Project
So what is the Orou Sapulot Initiative? Orou Sapulot is a family run and community-operated eco-tourism initiative built from the ground up by Richard Gunting and his sons Virgil and Silas. Richard Gunting who is a Murut Tribe descendant developed the Orou Sapulot Initiative with the vision of bringing a new life towards the conservation of flora and fauna in Sapulot, as well as the Murut Cultures, which are slowly fading away. The Initiative works in partnership with the surrounding villages in Sapulot who share responsibility in running the operations. Orou Sapulot has introduced sustainable tourism to the area all while promoting environmental awareness by encouraging the Murut to preserve their land. Along with eco-tourism, Orou Sapulot hosts community projects for school teams with Borneo Dream being their main partner for school community projects. The community projects involve working with the host communities where they work on projects focused on strengthening the infrastructure to help improve living standards for the villages and help the local economy grow.
“Our School team loved the project at Orou Sapulot – really worthwhile, and well run, especially for a big team like they were” Planning Manager, UK Expedition Company
Examples of community projects that have been worked on by school teams as part of a community project with Orou Sapulot are provided below.
Orou Sapulot Community projects providing basic infrastructure to the villages:-
- Water gravity – many households in villages in the area have limited access to piped water. Water gravity projects allow water from a nearby reservoir to be directed to a common water collection station.
- Stabilising riverbanks – construction of river wall to stop erosion and building steps onto riverbanks for easy access to villages.
- Construction of communal toilets – many households is without a proper toilet and bathroom area.
- Improvement of the local kindergarten play area to better suit and engage kids during playtime.
Orou Sapulot Community projects supporting the environment:-
- Construction of trash incinerator – disposal of garbage is an issue in remote villages. Having a trash incinerator makes this process more efficient, less harmful and more controlled.
- Tree planting – one of the other possible alternative livelihood income is to plant fruit and agarwood species.
Alongside working on the Orou Sapulot community project school groups also have the opportunity to help out with English conversational classes in the village school as an after school activity for the children of the village. This incredibly worthwhile and a real gift – to both the villager’s children and the students on school expedition in Borneo.
Interested? Contact our Experts for help arranging a community project with Orou Sapulot as part of your School Expedition to Borneo and pack your bags for a learning adventure of a lifetime!