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Poverty Alleviation Projects

2006 Projects

December 12, 2006

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your December 2006 report for The $10 Club.

An elderly Penan man from Long Iman in the Malaysian state of Sarawak was diagnosed with cancer at Miri Hospital, and ultimately was released as the cancer had reached its final stages. Having nowhere to go, he stayed with his daughter at a squatter area and eventually died. He happened to be remarkably active in the community’s work to document indigenous, traditional knowledge, and on his deathbed he expressed regret at not being able to finish documenting his knowledge on using indigenous forest plants to cure diseases.

There are 31 families at Long Iman and they depend on the jungle for their livelihood. Long Iman is located along the Tutoh River, and within the Gunung Mulu National Park, a World Heritage Site.

Each family breadwinner is committed to providing food for the family, education to the children, and medical expenses for all family members. However, the average income of a family there is approximately US$55 per family per month. Funds are generated through the sales of handicrafts to tourists visiting Mulu National Park and from working as boatmen to transport tourists.

The Sarawak Biodiversity Centre has been working to establish a place for the community to discuss traditional knowledge, sell crafts to tourists, document useful information about indigenous plants, and teach future generations about survival in the forest.

This month, 334 of us donated $3,340 to the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre to build its Interpretive Centre and Community Garden. Our funds will provide plywood for the ceiling, window frames, glass windows, door frames and doors, interior wooden walls, wooden planks for steps, paint for ceiling and walls, wire mesh for the ceiling, nails, fuel for the generator to cut the planks, shelves for material display, and cabinets for storage. Thank you.

Due to the high cost of transportation, children of Long Iman do not attend pre-school and those who attend primary school (7 years to 12 years old) are required to stay at the school’s boarding house. This time away from their families causes difficulties and the financial hardships of funding education often leads to parents not allowing their children to continue with their schooling. The older children need to travel over 4 hours by boat along the Tutoh River to the nearest secondary school at Long Panai. This can burden their families with additional costs—the boat fuel charge is about US$33 one way. Due to financial constraints, it is common that the children do not continue their studies after attending the final year of the primary school at age 12.

For medical and health services, the Long Iman citizens would need to take a boat ride to the nearest clinic at Batu Bungan. In case of emergency the clinic would call for the medical helicopter to transfer the patient. If the medical helicopter is not available, the patient is required to fly on a commercial plane from Mulu to Miri City. The flight takes about 35 minutes and the flight costs US$35 per person/one way. Once in the city, they will need to find their own means for transportation and accommodation.

Both education and health care require serious financial commitments by the members of the Long Iman community.

The Interpretative Centre and Community Garden in Long Iman will generate income and become a tourist attraction, bringing more tourists to the area. The community will showcase their handicraft knowledge to the tourists and sell their products. Some members of the community will also gain additional income by becoming guides and sharing their familiarity with indigenous plants from the forests with visiting tourists through the Community Garden.

The Interpretative Centre and Community Garden would enable the community to teach their younger generation how they live in the forest, and depend on the forest plants for medicine, shelter, food and other uses related to health care. The Centre would be a platform for the older generation to share stories of their nomadic life, traditions, and culture, ensuring that this wisdom is never lost.

Your gift this month will provide a sustainable, long-term means for the Long Iman community to help support itself and provide a better life for all, including their children. Your gift this month may very well, quite literally, last a lifetime. Thanks again.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,

PS. Thank you so much for your support all year. As you’ll see when your Annual Report arrives, we’ll be surpassing last year’s total project giving by $10,000!

Please send in your January contribution (or one for all of 2007) right away so we can start the year right. You can set up monthly giving through the PayPal link on The $10 Club web site, if you like.

And it’s not too late to give the gift of poverty alleviation for holiday gifts this year! Gift memberships in The $10 Club are easily arranged. Just contact me as soon as possible.

The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The $10 Club 2040 Tunlaw Rd., NW Washington, DC 20007 (202) 337-3123 adam@thetendollarclub.org