Curtin Volunteers! engage with longhouse community in Niah

Miri – 21 November 2023 – The Curtin Volunteers!, a student volunteer group from Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia), recently embarked on a 3-day, 2-night community outreach programme at Rumah Mandau Ak Empenit, a longhouse community at Sungai Skrat 2 in Niah. The programme was aimed at fostering cultural exchange, providing educational activities and necessities to children in the community, and give non-Sarawakian students of Curtin Malaysia a memorable local experience.

The programme saw an enthusiastic group of 19 Curtin Volunteers! engaging with the rural community comprising 33 families and 34 school-age children through various activities. They organised interactive and fun games for the children, providing them with an enjoyable and educational experience. Additionally, English tutoring sessions were conducted to help enhance the language skills of the children.

Another highlight of the programme was the opportunity for the volunteers to learn how to prepare traditional delicacies like Kuih Penyaram, Kuih Jala and Kuih Sarang Semut, and traditional basket weaving from women of the village. These sessions aimed to promote cultural exchange, with students gaining insights into the local heritage and practices of the community.

Furthermore, the volunteers actively participated in community service by cleaning and painting parts of the longhouse. This initiative aimed to improve the living conditions of the residents while promoting a sense of unity and solidarity among the volunteers and the community.

The programme also featured a Bokashi waste management sharing session where the volunteers imparted the importance of managing waste effectively and carrying out other environmentally-friendly practices. This session aimed to raise awareness about sustainable waste management and empower the community to take environmental action.

To celebrate the cultural diversity and talents of both the volunteers and the longhouse residents, cultural performances were also organised. This provided a platform for both volunteers and villagers to showcase their talents while fostering cultural understanding and appreciation.

According to Curtin Malaysia’s Acting Head of Health, Counselling and Disability Services and Student Experience, Norsari John, it was the first community outreach programme by the Curtin Volunteers! following the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, similar programmes were organised every semester.

“The objectives of the programme were successfully achieved. Our volunteers gained valuable exposure to community engagement, further developing their understanding and empathy towards marginalised communities. Furthermore, the provision of educational activities and necessities to the children helped create a positive impact on their lives,” said Norsari.

Meanwhile, president of the Curtin Volunteers!, Jessie Mary Embong Anak Felestine, said that the Curtin Volunteers! are planning to organise another community outreach programme with another rural community soon.

“The Curtin Volunteers! remain committed to organising similar initiatives in the future, allowing our students to contribute to society and promoting a sense of social responsibility and cultural exchange among the Curtin Malaysia community,” she said.

The Curtin Volunteers! is a student volunteer group from Curtin Malaysia that aims to create a positive impact in the community through various volunteer initiatives. It is one of the earliest and largest student groups at Curtin Malaysia. The group provides opportunities for students to engage in meaningful service and contribute to the betterment of society.

Information on Curtin Malaysia can be found on its website at, or look for Curtin Malaysia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and TikTok.

The Curtin Volunteers! pose for photo with residents of Rumah Mandau Ak Empeni