Coca-Cola partners Raleigh to help remote village of Buruni

Challenge is just not the water supply as proper sanitary infrastructure is also absence in the village, exposing the population to contaminations and disease

By D KANYAKUMARI / Pic By Coca Cola Co

As LATE as December last year, the 500-odd population of Kampung Buruni in Sabah had to walk at least two kilometres (2km) to the nearby river to source for water for their daily cooking and cleaning. Clean water supply was absence in the small village, a luxury many Malaysians had been enjoying for decades.

But the challenge was just not the water supply. Proper sanitary infrastructure was also absence in the village, exposing the population to contaminations and disease.

Now for the small village in the remote areas of Sabah, such predicaments are a thing of the past.

Coca-Cola Co and Raleigh International have partnered to bring the basic necessities including clean water supply, functional toilets with running water and proper sanitation system into this village. For the people in the remote village, it is a refreshing development after decades of struggles and uncertainties.

Village spokesperson Joemen Maritin said the situation prior to the supply of these basic amenities used to be “torturous”.

“Everyone used to relieve oneself everywhere in the forest, or near the drain or anywhere. There was no sanitation system despite it was such an important facility,” he said.

But that was not the only challenge for the 68 families living in 39 homes in the village of Buruni.

“Imagine all these people walking up to 4km a day (to and fro) and carrying water in bamboos to clean and cook,” he said.

He said the situation worsened when someone fell sick and needed help. But being a small community, they helped each other in the times of needs including helping to get clean water to the less fortunate members of the community.

“Trust me it was not an easy task and everyone struggled. But as a close built community we help one another.

“We also have a school with 200 students. Imagine managing that? Children in one place, 200 of them without water. We all suffered,” he said.

Today, clean water, which is a fundamental necessity has started to flow into the taps built through the efforts of Coca-Cola and Raleigh International.

Ford says Coca-Cola through its collaborations with Raleigh International has been able to provide clean water to several interior communities

Coca-Cola Asia-Pacific regional public affairs and communications director Belinda Ford said Coca-Cola through its collaborations with Raleigh International has been able to provide clean water to several interior communities.

“The reason we do this is because as a company, we want to ensure the water we use to make our drinks is returned to the people,” she said during the launch of the toilet facilities in Kampung Buruni.

Cola-Cola’s partnership with Raleigh International has totally changed the lives of the people in Buruni.

Village head Jaliun Maun said the village was established about 50 years ago and has been home for many. The facilities are a welcome change for the villagers.

“I have been here since then. At that time, I never dreamed that we would have water like this.

“We used to wonder ourselves if we would ever be able to enjoy a life with that type of luxury.

“Yes, there was government pipelines but we could not afford to pay the bills and in fact most of the time, the water supply didn’t reach us.

“There are still many people who live in the interiors around us do not have what we have just got.

“We got this because Raleigh International came to us. We are always grateful for that. Those days we used to worry everyday because we didn’t have water, now we are worried the cork will spoil because of the high water pressure,” he said.

He said Raleigh International and Coca-Cola have made a lot of effort to realise the water supply. “When they first came to start work here, they were mistaken as parties who came here to take over land.

They were even threatened and chased away.

“They persisted and with the aid of Pacos Trust who managed to convince the locals, the team managed to get in and start work,” he said.

He added that Coca-Cola contributed a total of RM50,000 for this single project in Kampung Buruni.

Coca-Cola, the most popular and biggest-selling soft drink maker in history, through its corporate social responsibility programme continues to aid interior communities in Malaysia.