Dignity Farm Academy to build legacy of sustainability and self-sufficiency for future generations
KUALA LUMPUR, 6 JULY 2022 – If there is one thing the past two and a half years has taught Malaysians it is the importance of being self-sufficient and sustainable. If Covid-19 saw urban fruit, herbs and vegetable gardens sprouting on condo balconies, in back lanes and even in bathrooms, its economic aftermath underscores the importance of self-sustenance!
Teaching Malaysians to go back to basics and appreciate the merits of self-sufficient living have long been a vision of local NGO, Dignity for Children Foundation (Dignity). In late 2021, Dignity acted on its vision by establishing the Dignity Farm Academy.
Located in Bentong, Pahang, the Dignity Farm Academy aims to build a model of transformative education grounded in community building, natural agriculture and skills development.
At the Farm Academy, Dignity’s students will be able to learn vocational skills such as sustainable farming and valuable team skills that will also help develop their character as part of the school’s overall skills and character development objective.
Rev. Elisha Satvinder, Co-founder of Dignity explained: “We envision the Farm Academy to be an integrated learning community. A place where we connect skills and knowledge (a fusion of holistic Education) from a wellspring of sources and experiences, combining practical skills and theory in a farm setting.
“Now is a particularly strategic time for us to relook education, health and agriculture. There is an acute awareness of the importance of sustainable food production and the need to instill awareness that education is more than just classroom based.”
The Dignity Farm Academy addresses an existing misconception towards agriculture by equipping a corps of youths who will consider the sector as a viable and sustainable option.
Among the programmes available at the Dignity Farm Academy are: Educational Farm Tours, Youth Seminars, Accelerated Character Education and Vocational Development course, and Skate Camps.
The Skate camps are made possible through collaboration with VANS which invested in Malaysia’s first granite skatepark at the farm. Officially opened on July 2, skateboarders can utilise the skatepark for a fee on weekend giving them a safe environment to practise and hone their skills.
Dignity’s Co-founder, Petrina Satvinder, enthused: “We believe that agri-forestry – working with nature to produce food – is the key to achieve sustainability. By combining agriculture and forest, we can learn to respect and work for nature to produce amazing food while preserving our
surroundings. We want to convey that self-sufficient living can be part and parcel of our daily lives.
“More importantly, our youths can partner with the local communities, particularly our orang asli brethren, to learn from them and adopt some of their practices that are more eco-friendly. The local communities too can be empowered through the sharing of knowledge, technology, and experiences.”
Petrina added: “The Farm Academy is an investment in the future, for generations to come. We want to leave a legacy of education and develop young Malaysians who will be responsible global citizens.”
The Dignity Farm Academy currently boasts of a thriving food forest comprising a diverse range of vegetables and herbs such as spinach, yam, ginger, carrots and pegaga and fruits such as papaya, banana, rambutan and durian. It also rears poultry such as chicken and ducks.
To expand its vision, the Dignity Farm Academy has also opened itself to small groups of urbanites with its “Weekends in Bentong” eco-getaways via AirBnb (https://abnb.me/bvdMjRxeyqb)
Monies earned from farming and educational programmes will be channeled back for education and sustainable farming at the school.
“Our fund-raising efforts are continuous as there is still much to be done at the Farm Academy. However, we are grateful to have received generous donations in kind from several corporate donors in the form of tiles and granites which will be most useful for some of the intended buildings,” revealed Petrina.
In addition to fund raising for items such as building materials, raised beds, fruit trees and plants, industrial wood chipper, woodwork tools, composting equipment and industrial kitchen equipment, Dignity is also looking for volunteers who can share their experience and skills.
Corporations and individuals that would like to join hands with Dignity to leave a legacy for the future can still do so by logging-on to https://dignityforchildren.org/farm for more information.