KUCHING: Education is the key for Sarawak’s indigenous communities to find their way out of poverty, says Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin.
Citing a 2010 study by the United Nations, he said it found that indigenous people made up one-third of the world’s poor.
“Breaking the cycle of poverty is not easy but not impossible,” he said when opening a seminar on the conservation areas of indigenous people at Redeems Centre in Bau near here.
The seminar was held in conjunction with the World Indigenous People’s Day celebration organised by Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia.
Mongin said highly-educated people stood a better chance of earning a good income which would help them overcome problems associated with poverty, such as not having enough food, clothes, shelter or healthcare.
He called on indigenous communities to emphasise the importance of education among their children to equip them for a better life.
“Let us make efforts to nurture a new generation of indigenous people who are not only aware of their rights to land and natural resources but are also knowledgeable and educated,” he said.
Mongin added Sarawak was rich in natural resources which should be protected.
“Although some of these resources have been exploited, we can still look after the rest with the existing laws that we have.
“As indigenous people, it is important for us to know the importance of natural resources and to conserve them,” he said.