By Muhammad Faiz
TAWAU (SABAH), 5 July 2018: A group of 26 IIUM students has created a bonding and a lasting relationship with the people in Kampung Iban Kuala Nansang, Tawau, Sabah.
A ten-day outreach project, called KINARA Series 1 under University Centre for Community Engagement (BUDI-UCCE) was held there from 20 until 30 June recently. The group was greeted by the villagers with warm welcome and sent off with heart-warming tears and goodbyes.
With higher education, religious enhancement and community service served as the objectives, KINARA aimed to provide help in any way it could whether in terms of education, community services or religions. Several events and activities were organised as part of the project.
Some of the highlights of the project were conducting an officiating ceremony of Surau Nur Hidayah, a session with Jabatan Hal Ehwal Agama Islam Negeri Sabah (JHEAINS) and “Rewang Raya Gawai”. Other activities held were community services, Mahabbah visits, Quranic classes and tuition classes.
The Mufti of Sabah, Datuk Ust, Hj. Bungsu @ Aziz Hj. Jaafar, graciously attended the officiating ceremony of Surau Nur Hidayah alongside the Deputy Rector (Student Affairs & Alumni), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Shamsul Jamili Yeob, Director of University Centre for Community Engagement (BUDI), Madam Hafsah Mohd Yusoff, State Assemblyman (DUN Balung), Datuk Osman Jamal, and Chief of Women N55 Balung, Andi Rus Diana Bin Andi Paladjareng.
Apart from that, representatives from JHEAINS also attended a special session with the villagers.
In her speech, programme manager, RS Azira told the community that she wanted the children and teenagers in the village to realise the importance of education. She went on to say that “education is the key for a better life”.
“The children in the village are indeed craving for knowledge and the proof is that they keep asking for education slots every night that we are here. They show the enthusiasm to keep learning and to understand new things,” one of the members of KINARA told IIUMToday.
Besides that, religious enhancement is one of the objectives of the programme. Many of the villagers were the muallaf and some were not being exposed to the right Islamic teachings. One of the elders in the village mentioned the absence of Imam or people with deeper knowledge regarding Islam sent there. He said even the surau was not being properly officiated after years of its establishment.
During a session with the Mufti of Sabah and JHEAINS, many of the villagers went up and asked questions regarding Islamic teachings and practices. Other than that, KINARA also aimed to instil Islamic practices at every turn as we had Quranic classes after the Maghrib prayer and tajwid classes in the morning.
One of the KINARA members pointed out, “Many villagers are indeed craving for religious knowledge as they are so eager to learn about Islam and its practices.”
As for the community services, the KINARA team managed to do a mural paintings and upgrade the murals on two of the three bus stations during their time there. Other than that, KINARA had also carried out a community service around the village such as cleaning the mosque, church, and community hall.
During the officiating ceremony, State Assemblyman, Datuk Osman Jamal, called on IIUM students to study what can be improved in the upcoming years to bring about development in the area.
Deputy Rector (Student Affairs & Alumni), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Shamsul Jamili Yeob, said in his speech that Kampung Iban Kuala Nansang would be “Kampung Angkat” for IIUM. “This could help enhance the collaboration between IIUM and Kampung Iban Kuala Nansang,” he mentioned.
The programme manager expressed the hope that this programme would be a benchmark for next series of KINARA as she hoped this would be an annual programme for UCCE-BUDI IIUM. ***