Tribal Village in Malaysia Switches on Electric Lights for First Time

S. Mahfuz
Kampung Aur, Pahang, Malaysia

Power generated by the sun is helping to keep the lights on for the inhabitants of Kampung Aur village who live along the Tembeling River in Malaysia’s Taman Negra National Park, Aug. 30, 2018. (S. Mahfuz/BenarNews)


A rechargeable LED lamp lights a home for indigenous Orang Asli Batek villagers, Aug. 30, 2018. (S. Mahfuz/BenarNews)


Solar-powered lamps help light a path for the villagers, Aug. 30, 2018. (S. Mahfuz/BenarNews)


Menderu, the leader of Kampung Aur village, adjusts the lamp in his house, Aug. 30, 2018. (S. Mahfuz/BenarNews)


Volunteers help the villagers set up the portable LED lamps, Aug. 30, 2018. (S. Mahfuz/BenarNews)


Villagers learn how to charge the LED lamps, Aug. 30, 2018. (S. Mahfuz/BenarNews)


An oil lamp provides little light in this Kampung Aur house, Aug. 30, 2018, (S. Mahfuz/BenarNews)


A villager reaches out to her pet “Toek,” Aug. 30, 2018. (S. Mahfuz/BenarNews)

Solar-powered lights are breaking through the darkness in Kampung Aur, a village nestled deep in the Taman Negara National Park in Malaysia’s Pahang state and accessible only by boat.

The Orang Asli Batek who live in the village survive by hunting and gathering what they need from the jungle. They say they’re seeing loggers and plantations invade the region, forcing them to change their lifestyle.

Along with the new lights, which the villagers received in August, the tribe is focused on finding other ways to survive, including tourism, while prioritizing education for their children.

Menderu, Kampung Aur’s leader, said the electric lights – rechargeable LED lamps powered by solar panels – are safer than the oil lamps they had been using. Architecture firm Veritas Design Group, construction firm Haskell Malaysia and Lewis and Clark College in the United States sponsored the lamps for the village.

Last year, Kampung Dedari, a village near Kampung Aur, received similar lamps and has since opened jungle huts to attract tourists.


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