Envisioning the Smart and Healthy Life for the Orang Rimba

Being smart and healthy is a need for everybody, not limited to the Orang Rimba communities. Whilst, even the drastic forest conversion where they belong to and live in (red: a “home”) has marginalized their groups. Thus, any support and commitment from multi parties to encourage the Orang Rimba is very necessary to let this tribe keep up with other communities around. Generally, the livelihood and living space belong to the Orang Rimba are classified into three types. First, the Orang Rimba group who lives in the forest and owns natural resources to support their life. They are scattered throughout the Bukit Dua Belas National Park (TNBD) area. Second, the Orang Rimba lives around the plantation and has fewer sources. This group may easily be found in Sumatera Highway and eastern part of Bukit Tiga Puluh National Park (TNBT) area. Third, the Orang Rimba lives and settles within the village and has been integrating their life with villagers. Some of them have the sources while others do not. This group spreads widely throughout Sumatera Highway, Sarolangun – Bungo Districts.

The first and second groups are facing a serious problem at the moment to meet the needs of their life and livelihood. Meanwhile, the third group found that they have been really difficult to access short-term service such as administration system, education and health services although they are now integrated with the nearest village around. This comes as the result of different treatment given and point of view of this community. Thus a commitment for an advocacy is really necessary to lead the Orang Rimba with various backgrounds and circumstances they have already had toward the national system as well as to recognize this tribes’ existence. There have already many supports of different parties for the Orang Rimba groups as the result of this advocacy, one of is the government has placed some pre-teachers (contract teachers) in several groups.

The advocacy has created good development.  The local (district) government keeps initiating incessantly well-attention to administration system of communities, education and health services, particularly for the Orang Rimba in Sumatera Highway. The local government has made a breakthrough by providing several teachers for the Orang Rimba only, to teach them in each location of this tribe. The teachers have proven able to accelerate the passion of the Orang Rimba children as well as the parents and raise their awareness on formal education near them. The interest of these children in accessing formal education can be seen from 134 children being sent to the formal schools. In addition, the development of both education and health relates strongly to and is part of attempting to reach the objectives of national development as stated in the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia: Protect the whole people of Indonesia and the entire homeland of Indonesia, advance general prosperity, develop the nation’s intellectual life, and to contribute to the implementation of a world order based on freedom, lasting peace and social justice. The Orang Rimba is one of the minority indigenous groups whose life resources depend high on hunting and forest gathering activities. However, less moor and roaming space they have leading and forcing them to adapt to the current change around, therefore, they get started to send their children to formal and informal schools. In other words, The Orang Rimba has realized that education can lift their level up, make them better and able to keep up with other communities, in addition, they start implementing healthier and cleaner life. The government at district level has mandated the puskesmas officers to provide the health care services, visit and treat the Orang Rimba regularly in each target location along the Sumatera Highway. This activity has proven able help decrease morbidity rate in target location and improve the knowledge of the Orang Rimba related to protect their health. In addition, the program of health insurance from the local government to enhance the chance for the Orang Rimba groups to access health service in Puskesmas and General Hospital (RSUD) in Jambi Province. However, this program still needs any support of multi parties, hereafter, WARSI collaborates with relevant agencies and teachers to help generate any support of multi parties – the teachers are the ones who had declared themselves for the Orang Rimba -  by event series in the Jambore Orang Rimba Lintas event with theme of “envisioning the smart and healthy life for the Orang Rimba in Sumatera Highway”. This event is expected to increase the participation of multi parties to provide an access of health and education services in Orang Rimba Sumatera Highway. The teachers in Sarolangun and Merangin Districts were so excited and enthusiastic to follow the multi parties workshop held in Social Office of Merangin District. The Orang Rimba Sumatera Highway and representatives of the university students also participate in this event, furthermore, it also involved the Kasi SAD Sarolangun, Education office in Merangin, Social Offices, WARSI and TNI/POLRI (Indonesian National Armed Forces / Indonesian Police). The deputy director of KKI WARSI, Adi Junedi said that the Jambore event consisted of several contests for the  Orang Rimba children during the first day, for the teachers of Sarolangun and Merangin Districts during the second day, and discussion series or workshop with multi parties and photo exhibition during the third day. According to him, the NGO has lack of resources in Orang Rimba empowerment. Therefore, it is necessary to think about how to make this program sustainable and shared to the government. The Orang Rimba is classified into three categories. First, the Orang Rimba who lives in the forest, second, dwells in Sumatera highway and eastern Bukit Tigapuluh national park where no more forests left, and inhabiting the palm concessions, rooming and been integrated with the villages. The groups with have no forest and live in plantation often raise some land use conflicts. So far, the Sarolangun and Merangin Districts have already supported the Orang Rimba empowerment program such as allocating budget to recruit some teachers for the Orang Rimba children. Meanwhile, care provider was placed to serve the Orang Rimba and let the groups access free health service. The series of discussion during the workshop held was the next stage to build the synergy of multi parties to develop the independence of the Orang Rimba and empower them. This synergy is necessary to put the Orang Rimba live in harmony with and empower them. Kusminarni, S.Pd – a school overseer of Education office of Merangin District – said that, they have provided motorcycle and salary for the teachers teaching the Orang Rimba children although the salary is not too much nor too less, only IDR 750.000, the teachers keep teaching the children. However, they still face several obstacles; first, the children whom being taught and the second, the teachers. We hope that the teachers could through this condition,” he said. According to him, the education office of Merangin will notice the education of the Orang Rimba as they are also the citizens and therefore, reserve the right over the education. The Sub-Division Head of Bina Pendidikan SAD Sarolangun, Mr. Jamris, stated that his team really encourages the Orang Rimba empowerment in their area. In addition, his team has provided ten teachers (contracted teachers) to teach the Rimba children. “These teachers are particularly teaching the Rimba children in Sarolangun District. There have been 350 teachers for the primary school children,” he added. These teachers are scattered throughout Limun, Cermin Nan Gedang (CNG), Air Hitam, Batin VIII, and Pauh Sub-districts. To accelerate their service in terms of education, it is expected that all relevant parties could design a curriculum for teachers as their reference. “There should be a particular curriculum of the education for the teachers as their reference to have a better level of education,” he added. (Kristiawan/Hermayulis).

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