Chicken Coop Project
Helping the Underprivileged Community
Temoh is a town located in the Perak region of Malaysia and the orang asli village, (Kampung Temoh) will be the location of the project implementation. Poverty is a major problem among the Orang Asli. A recent news reported that 1,329 Orang Asli children in Perak who are under two years of age suggested that 40 percent were malnourished by two years of age (Malaymail, 2019). Besides, 70 to 80 percent of Orang Asli children are underweight or stunted in height by school-going age. In order to reduce malnutrition cases among the indigenous group especially young children who needs nutrition for growth, poverty should be eradicated.This project aims to improve the socio-economic status of the orang asli. The “Chicken Coop Project” participant lives in a 2 bedroom house together with his sister’s family of 6, a total of 9 people in the household of less than RM2,000 per month. About 4 years ago, they had a family member die at the age of 17 years old due to malnutrition. Currently, he rears chickens but on a small scale and the mortality rate is high. The overall outcome of this project will help to:1) kickstart and equip the participant with knowledge and skills to raise chicken, 2) provide complete shelter for the chicken so that chicken will not fall sick due to rain and flood, 3) source for alternative feeds to supplement and reduce commercial feed cost low, and4) to help them market the chicken at a competitive price. Thus, the sustainability of this project is greatly emphasized.
Overview of Issue / Background
Temoh is a town located in the Perak region of Malaysia and the orang asli village, (Kampung Temoh) will be the location of the project implementation. Poverty is a major problem among the Orang Asli.
A recent news reported that 1,329 Orang Asli children in Perak who are under two years of age suggested that 40 percent were malnourished by two years of age (Malaymail, 2019). Besides, 70 to 80 percent of Orang Asli children are underweight or stunted in height by school-going age. In order to reduce malnutrition cases among the indigenous group especially young children who needs nutrition for growth, poverty should be eradicated.
This project aims to improve the socio-economic status of the orang asli. The “Chicken Coop Project” participant lives in a 2 bedroom house together with his sister’s family of 6, a total of 9 people in the household of less than RM2,000 per month. About 4 years ago, they had a family member die at the age of 17 years old due to malnutrition. Currently, he rears chickens but on a small scale and the mortality rate is high.
The overall outcome of this project will help to:
1) kickstart and equip the participant with knowledge and skills to raise chicken,
2) provide complete shelter for the chicken so that chicken will not fall sick due to rain and flood,
3) source for alternative feeds to supplement and reduce commercial feed cost low, and
4) to help them market the chicken at a competitive price. Thus, the sustainability of this project is greatly emphasized.
Project Objectives (Vision & Mission)
To eradicate poverty and to elevate the living standards and quality of lives through education and socioeconomic empowerment.
- To build a chicken coop for the participant.
- To start a (earthworm/black soldier flies) composting project to supplement for the chicken feed
To assist in marketing the raised chicken
Project Details (Activities and Tasks)
A total of 5-10 students from various background will be involved in this project with the supervision of relevant lecturers and the partnership with PELS (Perak Elevate Life Society).
Physical site planning
Students (together with Orang Asli family) will seek advises from relevant technical experts in the design and setting up of the chicken coop. They will source for materials and with the help of technical experts to set up the designed structures.
It is estimated that the designing process will take 2 weeks (weekends)
Physical setting and building
Materials and equipment delivered to site ready for building structure.
Building will take up to 4 weeks. The family will gather manpower to build the coop. PELS will supervise the building process.
Provide 200 chicks from good quality breeder. Educate family of alternate feeds to reduce cost of commercial feeds yet maintaining nutrient level.
Alternative feeds: Students will plan and kick-start the alternative feeds by raising earthworm and/or black soldier flies.
Students will plan for the marketing of the raised chicken. Together with the Orang Asli, they will source for potential market to sell their chicken upon maturation.
1 – 2 weeks
Various groups of sources (student’s friends and family members) will be introduced to the “Chicken Project”, which then creates a long-term business relations.
Students and the Orang Asli will evaluate the success of the project and discuss if there are any areas to improve.
Both strength and limitations of the project will be discussed and evaluated to further improve the next projects to come
Expected Project Result & Outcomes
- Successfully establish a chicken coop for an Orang Asli family
- This chicken coop will serve as a tool to generate sustainable income through sale of chicken
- Increase gross household income for the Orang Asli family
0% of RM1.00 Goal
|University name||:||Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)|
|Project leader name||:||Sie Shwu Yuen|
|Number of beneficiaries||:||19 persons (4 families)|
a. Project goals
The Chicken Coop Project, aims to help and guide Uma, an Orang Asli in Kampung Temoh Kampar, Perak to build a sustainable chicken coop and educate him in chicken rearing, so our main beneficiary is able to provide for his family and hence to break from the cycle of poverty
b. Did other fund-raising efforts contribute to your projects? What were they?
When we were told to carry out crowd funding of RM750.00, we felt both the excitement as well as fear as we kick started this project. However the desire and passion to elevate the lives of our fellow Orang Asli motivated us to raise the funds fearlessly. Every person who donated motivated us to press on and keep moving forward even though we faced some rejections as we told and shared the story of Uma in Kampung Temoh, Perak around the community in Kampar. We managed to raise the expected amount of RM756.00 and at the same time created awareness of difficulties or challenges of the Orang Asli in Kampar.
c. Provide details about how your project actually worked.
I. Were there unanticipated difficulties? Budget constraints?
From the beginning of the planning to almost the completion, the project seemed to be progressing well even though the most challenging stage of the actual building. With Mr Lee, our construction advisor, coaching and guiding the Orang Asli from the building of the coop’s foundation to the roof, and while the students documented the whole process.
However, one of the most unexpected and unfortunate difficulty we encountered towards the completion of this project was the sudden passing away of Uma due to untreated tumour in his body. He had fever for two days and passed away on the third day. When we received the news that he has passed away, we were deeply distressed as the purpose of this project was to help him elevate his and his family’s standard of living, to eradicate poverty and to be successful in his life.
As much as we were saddened by this sudden lost, we were deeply moved by the cooperation by the other Orang Asli brothers and sisters of the village. His sister, Ena and his brother-in-law, Safari who has four daughters, lived together with Uma and his mother- all eight under one roof. They will be taking over the chicken business. With the completion of the project, it is really a big financial help to the family as Safari is now the sole-bread-winner of the family earning a minimum wage. The family even though faced with much challenges and difficulties are able to rebound to complete the project in order to meet the deadlines of the project makes me see how determined they are to build and strive for a better future for their family. It is like a flower that grew from a dry and cracked land which simply shows a form of resilience.
II. Language or cultural barriers?
The Orang Asli in Kampung Temoh communicates using “Bahasa Semai” among themselves which is also their native language. Thankfully, most are able to speak Bahasa Malaysia even though many of them are illiterate. It was a challenge for them to understand, thus Mr Lee our construction advisor had to not only instruct but to demonstrate how things are to be done. We are thankful that there were not many barriers throughout the implementation of the project as both the Orang Asli and the team were eager and passionate in completing this project.
Besides, Ms Loh, our liaison from Perak Elevate Life Society (PELS), a non-governmental organisation, helped to coordinate with the different phases of the project in the village, and was aware of their cultural practices. Through Ms Loh, we were also able to understand the Orang Asli better and therefore learning to show more respect as well as appreciation towards them.
III. What worked well? What didn’t work well?
Everything that was planned went smoothly, starting from crowd funding itself. We were grateful to have a team of professionals of different expertise and dedicated students from several faculties who contributed to the success of this project.
One of the highlight of the project was to observe the empty land that was once occupied by the run-down chicken coop to being filled once again with the now much improved and stronger coop. For us, it is only a chicken coop, but for them it is a life transformation. The process was not easy. During the building process, Uma suffered a minor injury in his eye when he attempted to cut the metal pieces with the grinder, while the other Orang Asli brothers stated that some of the materials like the columns were long and heavy.
Out of curiosity and wanting to put myself in their shoes, I tried to screw nails into the columns using a machine. It was not as easy as it seemed, simple tasks as such requires strength and concentration. Without these qualities, we allow ourselves to be involved in accidents and injuries.
Besides, I observed that weather can be a challenge for the construction team. Early November was a rainy season and it rained almost every day, therefore, with the constant outpouring of the rain, the team experienced delays in completing the building of the chicken coop. When it did not rain, the team had to work under scorching sun.
V. How many people benefited or will benefit from your project? Who are these people?
This project has benefited a wide range of people starting from the Orang Asli themselves. With the commencement of the project in the village, Uma will be able to inspire the other Orang Asli to eradicate poverty. However, with the passing of Uma, the chicken business will be handled by four of his family of nineteen people.
Besides that, we who are involved in this project learnt about the history and also the difficulties the Orang Asli faced such as the loss of Uma’s sister due to poverty and malnourishment and how we are able to make a difference in the lives of the underprivileged.
V. What is the long term impact and sustainability of this project? Is there a future for your project?
The rearing of chickens with this strong and firm chicken coop together with the rearing of alternative feeds will ensure the sustainability of chickens. Coming alongside with Orang Asli to empower them through educating them on management and business strategies such as selling the chickens during the months of the year with high demands like during the Chinese New Year month will increase their income.
Therefore, with the knowledge and skills that that they have obtained from this project will ensure a long term impact. We also believe that the Orang Asli are able to rise up and be successful like any other citizens in Malaysia. Through this first success story, we hope that the other Orang Asli families will be able to be inspired to work hard and achieve a sense of dignity and pride for themselves. Besides, we hope that with the income that is generated, the Orang Asli will also be able to have medical check-up for a healthier community
A study was done to investigate community resilience and individual resilience, it was stated that among non-western societies, community resilience is more important than individual due to the collectivistic culture. Similarly, the Orang Asli has a strong bond among themselves and hence, with the cooperation from many individuals, all things are possible. We also realised that the Orang Asli are slowly stepping out from being an oppressed community of poverty towards a community of visions and dreams that they want to achieve.
How does and will this project contribute to happiness? Recent news report (“Poorer than we think: Malaysia’s official poverty figures ‘vastly’ undercounted, says UN expert”, Aug 2019) stated that poverty rate is 16 to 20% and the actual poverty rates are much higher than official figures suggested. It is true for the Orang Asli community as they are constantly struggling to put food on their table.
The national definition of poverty is RM980 per household per month which means an urban family of four would survive on RM8 per person per day. This is what this family is going through before the project. For this project, happiness is more than just receiving but true happiness comes from within when that person has confidence and dignity. Families under poverty lack all these because they struggle to provide the basic needs for their family. As we come alongside them to provide them the knowledge and skills to run the business, we are empowering them to break out from the poverty cycle.
Certainly food through this project is not the only factor that can contribute to happiness, but the assurance that they are no longer oppressed by poverty and that they are able to work things out on their own without constantly counting on other people or organisations. Therefore, through this project it is also our goal to help the Orang Asli to strive for excellence in life even though there were challenges that constantly demotivate them but are able to overcome these difficulties.
One of the most valuable point that I learnt from this project is that every individual on this earth has the right to have a fulfilled life and that they should be given the opportunity to strive in life. No one should live in poverty, not even children. Therefore, educating the Orang Asli to first have a goal in their lives and later on about business is vital. Children should be given everything they need for a holistic care and education.
This project also has been a great platform for me and the rest of our team to carefully evaluate the condition of the Orang Asli knowing that helping those does not based on what we think they need but rather what they truly need in their lives. Hence, we learnt that the underprivileged such as the Orang Asli needs help to kick-start their dreams or visions in their lives, therefore help is needed.
One of the students said “I feel that it takes great courage to step up to be the change they want to see in one's community” –Zoe Wee- Indeed, it has not been easy for Uma and the rest of the Orang Asli to stamp out from poverty and to create their first success story. However, we were deeply encouraged to see the passion shown by the Orang Asli despite the challenges they faced.
“To me I think this project is definitely valuable because it can help to fight poverty, it is important for us to know that reaching out to people and planning for future is indeed vital for everyone. We never know what the future holds. As a result, we should always plan ahead so that we will be able to provide for our family members and ourselves” –Mary Ling- It is undeniable that one should plan for their future and certainly opportunities and help is needed for those who desire a change in the lives of his and his community.
Similarly, Joshua Tan thinks that this project is valuable to the orang Asli people as they can have a better income for their future. He also learnt co-operation and hard work from them as they put in a lot of effort no matter whether it rains or shine. He admired their co-operation although they all have different point of view
Emily Leong on the other hand felt that the “importance of management” during the entire event is vital. She felt that every person who is involved with this project plays an important role for this project. For instance, without Mr Lee we will not be able to proceed with the building as we have limited knowledge regarding construction. Indeed, without the different people with different expertise, this project would not be possible. As for me, I feel that this project is necessary and important for Uma as he has both the interest and passion but without fund. Therefore, this project helps to provide Uma a platform to strive through the chicken coop project, giving him and the rest of the Orang Asli opportunity to achieve something in their lives and later on to make a difference in the lives of others.
This has been a meaningful project for us and through it we learn to love as Robert A. Heinlein said “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” Like the starfish story, we can make a difference in the lives of the family through this chicken business.