Epic, Native Discovery, and 3M Malaysia Join Forces for a Community-Driven Tourism Venture
Petaling Jaya, 16 August 2022 – In an effort to showcase the rich heritage and culture of Orang Asli within Malaysia, non-profit organisation Epic, partnered with social enterprise Native Discovery and global science company, 3M to develop Umah Temuan – an initiative designed to empower the Orang Asli people of Kampung Serendah with sustainable economic opportunities that leverage on their existing wealth of indigenous culture.
Based in a greenery-rich, lush forest with a soothing river backdrop in Hulu Selangor, the initiative supports the Temuan tribe Orang Asli by generating income through community-based tourism. With the pandemic placing many Malaysians in challenging financial positions, the initiative looks to boost the local economy whilst driving awareness for the beautiful culture and tradition of the Temuan people.
John-Son Oei, CEO of Epic shared, “The Temuan village in Kampung Serendah has a lot to offer in terms of culture and experiences. To spotlight their colourful heritage and way of living, we devised a community-based homestay initiative that will boost the local economy whilst promoting the local culture, that will ultimately become a self-sustaining ecosystem.”
Epic made sure to pay homage to the Temuan tribe’s traditions, placing the culture’s influence in the homestays’ architecture elements. High pitched roofs, locally sourced atap bertam and bamboo wall panel weaving were used to cultivate understanding and appreciation for the Orang Asli’s culture and heritage.
“At Epic, we believe that creating a better world is a shared responsibility. With the combined efforts of a US$ 50,000 (RM199,000) grant from 3Mgives, Native’s expertise and the invaluable skills of the local Temuan people, we are determined to make Umah Temuan – meaning ‘Temuan home’ in traditional Temuan language – Malaysia’s go-to domestic travel destination,” John-Son concluded.
The fully furnished homestays will be accessible to tourists and visitors by as part of a cultural exchange experience. Native also has activities and attractions lined up for urban folks wanting to escape the busy city life for a deeper look into the Temuan lifestyle – guests can enjoy lush jungle treks, refreshing waterfall experiences, and even pick up traditional skills such as weaving bertam leaves for roof thatches and cooking classes on Orang Asli dishes taught by the people of Kampung Serendah themselves.
“We are excited to partner with Epic and 3M as we all share the same goals and commitment of boosting the Orang Asli community’s economy and showcasing their culture to society at large,” shared Daniel Teoh, Founder of Native Discovery. “The Kampung Serendah Temuan culture is rich with precious skills and cultural treasures that we believe Malaysians can gain a lot from. There’s something for everyone here – from serene hikes to exciting sambal-making classes, this project will help immerse more people in the indigenous culture.”
GT Lim, Country Leader of 3M Malaysia shared, “This meaningful project is one of many ways that 3M is taking action and providing meaningful investments to help support a brighter world for everyone. I can’t wait to book a staycation for my family and I, because besides enriching ourselves with the experience, we are also helping the Temuan tribe Orang Asli build their own income while keeping their beautiful heritage alive.
It’s also why I’m truly proud of the 3M volunteers who contributed their time and effort to building these remarkable homestays. It’s a true reflection of the 3M’s core value of making a positive impact in the world,” GT concluded.
The Hulu Selangor district village is approximately 40 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur and is home to around 600 Temuan Orang Asli – the largest Orang Asli ethnicity in the Selangor state. The surrounding area is mainly known for the Serendah Waterfalls, accessible via the village.
To book your stay at Umah Temuan, head over to https://discovernative.org/explore/umah-temuan-homestay.