About the Project
Sekolah Adat Arus Kualan, or the Customary School Arus Kualan, is a project led by young Dayak leaders in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. They have taught 138 students so far, with the goal of creating a generation that values and protects the Dayak culture. The school emphasizes learning from traditional indigenous knowledge in various fields, such as environmental issues, social relations, art, and literature.
The school has two main areas of focus: education and environment. In education, students learn about traditional knowledge, such as dance, traditional food and medicinal plants, music, and modern technology. In environment, students participate in activities like tree planting and using organic eco-polybags.
Why do you care about this specific topic/issue?
As a Dayak generation, we are committed to preserving the culture and local wisdom that our ancestors passed down to us. We want to keep them alive in the modern era. The future of the Dayak people depends on the youth.
Why did you decide to start this project?
We are concerned about the growing loss of cultural and local knowledge in Simpang Hulu and Simpang Dua Sub-Districts, Ketapang District, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, especially among the Dayak youth.
What are your goals for this project?
- Increased participation of youth in Simpang Hulu and Simpang Dua Sub-Districts to be aware of the local wisdom of Dayak Simpang and the environment.
- Plant 1000 trees for the future
- Bring awareness to the local government about the local wisdom of the indigenous people in the region.
- Enable the Dayak indigenous youth to use technology as a tool to preserve and record the story of their community, their culture, and tradition through film, paper, and photography.
- Increase the interest of the younger generation to pass on traditional knowledge (music, dance, stories, weaving, painting, foraging, and traditional values).
How will YSEALI Seeds help you achieve your goals?
The funding assistance from YSEALI was crucial for us to acquire the necessary equipment for our project in the field. YSEALI also guided us on how to execute the project in a structured manner, and monitored our progress and outcomes. This was very helpful because we often faced administrative challenges when running the project.
What have you accomplished and implement so far?
We started the project in 2014. Since then, 138 students have joined our class. We received support from the community, parents and the Dayak elders. On the other hand, we conducted traditional weaving, music and dancing classes. We also brought the kids with the elders to learn about the traditional knowledge (stories, plants in the forest that can be used for food, medicine and spice). We encouraged the indigenous youth to make films and we produced some documentary films.
What are the most significant lessons learned you’ve experienced so far?
To ensure the success of our project, we need to involve many people and work as a team. We will face many challenges along the way, and we cannot overcome them if we work alone.
It is also essential to monitor the project use a well-organized administration system, so that we can track the progress and make adjustments as needed.
What are the success stories you can share with others?
- Our students collaborated with the Royal College of Art London to conduct research on the plants in the forest. They went to the forest with the elders and recorded all the plants and their functions.
- Sekolah Adat Arus Kualan was featured in an international journal.
- The program has been established in four different places with a total of 138 students (both children and youth).