COMMUNITY legacy efforts by organisers’ association ICCA entered a new chapter in Sarawak with the handing over of a library to local tribespeople.
Batang Ai’s first community library is now under the guardianship of the Nanga Ukom longhouse residents following a ceremony between the organising committee of the 59th ICCA Congress Asia Pacific Regional Hub (APRH) and the Longhouse Chief.
The “Gift of Love: Batang Ai Community Library” was a Congress-led corporate social responsibility project undertaken by the 59th ICCA APRH Committee. It started with a book-sharing programme that grew into a life-changing initiative with the support of the public and private sectors.
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The 59th ICCA APRH Committee’s book-donation campaign in 2020 saw 7,500 books being donated in nice days to furnish the library. The biggest book donation came from the residents of Raflessia in Petaling Jaya who donated more than 1,200 books
The library’s goal is to provide a functional space with educational resources to help retain more rural children in school. The methods to achieve that goal needed international expertise and a stamp of approval from the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA).
“The best way to achieve the Sarawak Government’s three aspirations of economic prosperity, social inclusion and environmental sustainability is by working alongside the local community,” said Hii Chang Kee, permanent secretary at the Malaysian-Borneo state’s tourism, creative industry and performing arts ministry.
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“Our business events sector is leading the way in showing how the right intentions and partnerships can make a big impact on people.”
The main congress in Kaohsiung was hosted as a spoke-and-hub model and Kuching was the hub for Asia Pacific, held in November 2020, after a bid win by Business Events Sarawak.
As Congress host, Sarawak took a step further from the book-donation-only concept to build an actual community library that works with the local people on a long-term programme.