Jakarta – Amidst the challenges of deforestation and modernisation, Arus Kualan Indigenous School in East Kalimantan stands as a symbol of hope, embracing a mission to preserve cultural heritage and empower the next generation. Founded in 2014, the school has become a beacon of change, bridging the gap between traditional wisdom and contemporary education, the school said in a written statement.
The school’s emphasis on cultural preservation is exemplified by students like Selsi and Elis, who have taken on roles as cultural ambassadors and guardians of their ancestral heritage. Selsi, 12, has found her passion in teaching traditional Dayak musical instruments and games, sharing her culture’s richness with peers. Elis, 14, inspired by her grandmother’s traditional healing knowledge, has become a healer and environmental steward, advocating for preserving their forested homeland.
Arus Kualan uniquely combines traditional teachings with modern education methods. The school imparts indigenous knowledge and emphasises literacy and language skills, equipping students to express themselves confidently and engage with the wider world. These skills are crucial for connecting with global communities and understanding diverse perspectives.
The school’s founder, Florentina Dessy, envisions Arus Kualan as a model for indigenous communities facing similar challenges worldwide. In a world where modernisation threatens cultural identities, Arus Kualan is a hopeful beacon. Dessy aspires for similar programs to receive support and recognition from local governments, ensuring the continuity of these vital preservation efforts.
Over the years, Arus Kualan Indigenous School has attracted many students, reflecting a deepening interest in preserving cultural heritage. With its innovative blend of tradition and modernity, the school fosters a strong sense of identity, discipline, and creativity among its students.
As the Dayak community faces ongoing challenges, Arus Kualan Indigenous School’s journey remains a testament to the transformative power of education and cultural preservation. With each passing year, the school nurtures the roots of Dayak culture while empowering the leaders of tomorrow to advocate for a sustainable future. (nsh)