Helping Hands Penan Shop is the original online Singapore distributor of Penan bags, baskets and craft. The charity has been in existence for more than 8 years now and was formed casually by a few expat wives who got together to help the Penan. The volunteers are dedicated to the welfare of the Penan tribe in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, by creating economic sustainability and through safeguarding their education.
Who are the Penan?
The Penan are nomadic aboriginal people living predominantly in Sarawak. They are one of the last few nomads remaining in the world. The Penan in Borneo are mainly Semi-nomadic and their way of life is changing due to pressures that encourage them to live in permanent settlements and adopt year - around farming. They are subsistence farmers, growing dry padi, tapioca, and corn for consumption. Very often they still return to the forest to hunt and to the river to fish.
Today, the Penan are scattered in many Penan settlements in the forested part of Sarawak. They face challenges of dwindling supply of resources and food. Sending their children to schools is a momentous task as schools are far away from home.
What is Helping Hands Penan's mission?
Helping Hands Penan's (HHP) mission is to empower the Penan women to help themselves and their family. They are here to support the Penan in their new ways to settle, but primarily to support the Penan kids to get education by creating an environment that encourages them to start and continue their education.
HHP buy and sell the craft made by the womenfolk using their traditional weaving skills to make bags, baskets, and mats. The funds raised are channeled back to the Penan community in Ulu Limbang and Ulu Baram in the various projects. The focus is on educating the Penan children from pre-school to University level (Master). HHP aim that one day 'Every Penan Child Can Go to School’.