Saturday, March 7, 2009

Enterprising Penan girls of Long Kevok

While hundreds of their people were busy getting their MyKad and birth certificates processed in Long Kevok recently, two Penan girls were selling drinks and tidbits by the roadside.

BUSINESS-MINDED: Mariam (left) and Damaris Panai at their stall.

This was unusual, even extraordinary, for here were two Penan girls selling things to their own people. The other girls of the same age were milling around doing nothing special.

All sorts of questions came to mind upon watching them. What made them different from the rest? Where did they get the idea of doing a little business? How did they know how to do the pricing for the goods? Where did they get their capital to start their roadside business?

It turned out that the girls — Mariam and Damaris — are sisters. Their father’s name is Panai.

Both are waiting for their SPM results, and judging by their PMR results, they are bright students.

The brighter of the two is Damaris who scored 5A’s and 1B and 1C in her PMR. Because of that, she was sent to study at SMK Marudi.

Mariam scored 4B in her PMR and stayed on at SMK Long Lama.

Both girls are optimistic that they would do well in their SPM and have expressed their desire to further their studies.

Damaris told The Borneo Post she scored A1 in Mathematics in her SPM trial examination.

The teenagers want to achieve their dreams of a better life and be agents of change for their community.

In this, they said they would be grateful if some individuals or organisations or the government could help them.

Their mother gave them RM500 to start their little business.

On the first day, they made RM300. They were confident that they could make a good profit at the end of the three-day programme at their settlement.

They got what they sold from Long Bedian. Among the goods they sold were packet drinks and homemade cakes.


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