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Category: General

Posted by: Raja Petra

Borneo PostPenan student lives with bare necessities at boarding school; some stop studying due to ‘hurtful’ teasingKUCHING: Every school day, 13-year-old Wendy Musa wears the same uniform which she washes once a week.

Even if it smells, she still has to wear it till Friday afternoon before she can do her laundry.

This is because she has no spare and her single mother cannot afford to buy her another.

This Penan girl from Ba’ Abang, Ulu Baram, Miri Division, aspires to be a teacher but is uncertain of her future because she doesn’t know how long her mother can continue supporting her in secondary school.

This teenager is the eldest in a family of six siblings and her mother has no other source of income to support the family except self-sufficient farming.

“My mum is jobless and had to ask my uncle for some money to meet my schooling needs early this year.

“My uncle is not working too, so I don’t know how he manages,” she told The Borneo Post recently near her school – SMK Temenggong Datuk Lawai Jau – in Long San, Ulu Baram.

Long San, a Kenyah village is about 240km from Miri and accessible through logging tracks by four-wheel drive vehicles over a six-hour journey.

Some 20 Kenyah, Kayan and Penan villages along the

Baram
River depend on Long San – which has a health clinic, primary and secondary schools, coffeeshops and grocery stores, public telephones and two churches – for their survival.

Wendy lost her father in an accident at a timber camp where he worked in 2005.

Her village Ba’ Abang is about six hours on foot – plus another four-wheel-drive through logging tracks – to Long San where her boarding school is located.

“I don’t have mattress to sleep on because I’m orphaned,” she said.

“My mum can’t afford to buy me one. I just sleep on the wooden bed,” she claimed.

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