That QI family spirit of volunteerism, inspired by the RYTHM philosophy of Raise Yourself to Help Mankind, was no more ostensible than during a recent Employee Community Impact (ECI) excursion to the remote Orang Asli (indigenous people) village of the Bateq tribe in Pahang, Malaysia.
To foster a better understanding of the initiative, RYTHM Foundation, the social impact arm of QI, organised the programme in Kampung Kuala Atok, the tribe’s village. The remote settlement in the Taman Negara National Park is only accessible by a 45-minute boat ride along the Tembeling river.
The QI Group is substantially more than a conglomerate building diverse businesses. More crucially, it strives to empower and inspire people and communities, particularly the underserved.
One of the ways the Group empowers and responds to their needs is through the ECI programme.
Up Close with the Bateq
RYTHM has undertaken considerable work in the village as part of its first Community Adoption Programme (CAP) in Pahang. The endeavours include the ‘Sekulah Bateq’ (Bateq School) initiative, which started in June for the community’s children to learn essential reading, writing, and arithmetic skills.
On this trip, 35 volunteers coordinated several activities for the community, including guiding them on the importance of personal hygiene and grooming.
As a result, the women learnt more about feminine hygiene, while the men were taught how to use disposable shavers and nail clippers. Meanwhile, the children learnt how to brush their teeth and practice oral cleanliness.
The Head of the Malaysian ECI Committee, Kalyani Puspangathan, also handed new and pre-loved clothing and food rations to the village head, Hussin Dayak.
“We organised this excursion to create awareness among our employees of the support and aid the Bateq people have received from RYTHM and continue to require urgently,” Kalyani said.
“The experience provided insights into how an impoverished community lives off the grid without access to many essential amenities that most of us take for granted.”
Hussin expressed his gratitude to the volunteers for spending time with the community. “Our thanks to the people here today and RYTHM Foundation for their contributions.
“Most importantly, I am grateful we finally have a school for our children. Although the young ones were a little apprehensive initially, they are now more receptive to the lessons and teachers,” he said.
“I hope our children do well in the future. At the very least, they will be equipped with essential communication skills and can secure jobs when they are older. That is why we sought help to set up this school.”
Participating in the programme and engaging with the community was an eye-opening experience for our urbanite colleagues.
“The Bateq people are among the kindest and friendliest people I met,” IT Administration support assistant, Farah Hannan Roslee, said. “Meeting them also encouraged me to be more responsible and aware of our world.”
Likewise, senior distribution specialist Nithya Kaiyani said the ECI programme gave her the chance to understand and appreciate the secluded group’s predicament.
“I believe what we have contributed, and the programmes we have for the Bateq people are beneficial, but there is much more everyone can do to help them improve their lives. Giving back to society through the organisation’s many programmes like this is fulfilling,” she added.
RYTHM’s endeavour to educate the children impressed Merchandise and Branding Strategist Edwin Hoo. “The school is an excellent initiative for the children. If they have a chance to make a life away from this village in the future, the fundamentals they learn here will be helpful,” he said.