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The Mission

Posted by admin 14 - November - 2011


Everyone Deserves an Education

No matter where you live, whatever race and socio-economic ladder you belong, you deserve access to education. It is not just a status; it is a necessity for survival.

The Humanity Forum aims to continuously help provide this opportunity to the needy in Southeast Asian countries, and children in particular.

As the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of Child, Article 28 declares: “States Parties recognize the right of the child to education…” which is also in line with the more immediate United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target on the education sector: “Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.”


Kamisa and her cousins looking at picture books given by THF

Kamisa and her cousins looking at picture books given by THF

Anak Laut of Temiang island playing with whatever they can find around their huts.

Anak Laut of Temiang island playing with whatever they can find around their huts.

The Beginning

Living in big cities like Singapore and Jakarta, most of us can get caught up in the hustle and bustle, leaving us oblivious to other equally important matters though they could be something “nearby”.

One of them is Suku Laut people, our close neighbour at the Riau Islands. Sometimes you can see them when you are catching a ferry from Singapore to Batam or Bintan Island. However, most of them choose to live in more remote areas. Studies about them are just as remote and the learning from some school text books when we were very young indicate that this tribe’s lot does not seem to be improving. Why?

The same question raised the curiosity of THF volunteers. Hence, we decided to send a team to look into this. (Read: Update: Assessment Trip Sept 2011)

Floating home of Suku Laut, as known as “kajang”, parked behind Pak Akub’s home.

Suku Laut of Temiang Island, one of the few communities who are less nomadic and started to live in houses on stilt.


What we found out were nothing less than shocking: The whole community do not know how to read. They do not even know how old they are. And this, despite the fact that a stone’s throw away from where they live is a village with schools.

While there have been some effort from the locals to invite the tribesmen and women to study, nothing has worked out so far. But we won’t give up easily.

THF will double the effort to send Suku Laut kids to school!



The Mission

Essentially, we aim to equip the 15 Anak Laut with education so they can survive well beyond the next millennium. In the long term, their education can prevent their tribe’s extinction.

The Plan: 3 Phases within 6 Years

Phase 1

  • Send the first batch of Anak Laut to school and set up a good example for the rest to follow
  • Facilitate this process through funds raised with the help of THF friends
  • Utilise funds to provide conducive learning facilities by working with local partners & schools

Phase 2 (within 2-3 years time)


  • Invite 2 more nearby Suku Laut communities to join this movement

Phase 3 (within 6 years time)


  • Invite the rest of the Suku Laut communities in Riau Islands to join this movement


So, are they going to school yet? It’s up to all of us!

The success of this mission will depend on how far our funding can reach and touch these kids’ lives. The communities are scattered and mostly located in a very remote places where they can catch fish using their traditional methods.

Thanks to the local education system, we need not spend too much on the school fees. However, we will need to provide for their school needs. We need to buy things like sets of uniform, school bags, shoes, books, pencils and any other things that they need for their education, including “school boats” to ferry them to school. Because of their economic condition, most of the families only have enough boats for their daily living activities.

Sustainability is likewise a key issue as THF will also look into improving the livelihood of these communities. Their current spear fishing method delivers measly earnings since the “wounded” merchandise do not fetch a good price. The community’s leader, Pak Akub and his family for example, feeds 12 families of about 40 people with a monthly gross income of only about S$140. While Pak Akub’s family does not go hungry, thanks to their tribal survival skills, this money will not be enough to send the kids to schools. As it is, the amount is barely enough to buy rice.

THF also hopes to solve the issue of nutrition in a more sustainable manner. Unlike people in the city, the Suku Laut hardly gets access to vegetable and fruits. Thus, a basic vegetable farm endeavour is in the works.

Last but not least, a rise in self-esteem of the communities is one of the main factors that will determine the success of this mission. THF is planning to send experts to work on this “soft-ware” so that the Anak Laut need not isolate themselves anymore.

They have the same rights and deserve an opportunity to go to school just like any other kids. With our initiative, they would no longer think that when they grow up, their choices will not be limited to becoming another fish spearer or a housewife just like their parents. They can dream to be whatever they wish to be. Please support our initiative now!