Project: Kg Kiding Road
Date: May – August 2014
Number of people benefited: 80 families
Number of volunteers: 53
Impian Sarawak's first foray into the upgrading and construction of basic roads to improve accessibility for communities in need.
Increasing accessibility by building and repairing of basic roads and jeep tracks for the rural and marginalised communities.
A 3km uphill hike to and from their village homes daily – such had been the backbreaking routine for villagers of Kampung Kiding, located in the interiors of the Mambong constituency, just under two hours from Kuching town.
As a farming community, the villagers earned a living by hauling their agricultural produce to sell in town. For the young children living in this village, they also had to trek the same way to and from school; a distance that usually takes over an hour. The 'luckier' children who had beds to sleep in at the hostel only needed to make that trek on weekends when they returned, but the less fortunate ones had to navigate the steep jungle path every day. This daily drill was not just punishing for those little limbs, but a taxing toll too for the older folks, especially under unrelenting heat! The villagers' repeated requests to the government for a road had been ignored, with the excuse that the projected cost would amount to some RM10mil.
Determined to make lives better for these people, and unconvinced by the government's quotation, Impian Sarawak undertook the uphill task of building its first ever road project at this site. In May 2014, the upgrading works began, continuing for two solid months that crystallised into a 4WD road where villagers could ride on motorbikes or other vehicles to deliver goods and send their children to school. This 3km route was also fitted with two connecting bridges and seven culverts. Costing just RM140,000, a fraction of the government's far-fetched and preposterous figure, this completed project has benefited not just Kg Kiding but its neighbouring village Kg Kakas, which consists of 80 families in total.
Over the course of the two months, the gotong-royong spirit was high and unwavering, with tasks and responsibilities shared between the villagers and some 53 volunteers from different parts of Malaysia, who flew to Kuching on their own expenses. The Impian team took turns toiling on the ground and successfully overcame all odds and challenges faced, despite having to navigate new unchartered waters of road-building, from logistical arrangements to convincing and readying the community for the project.
To celebrate the completion of the road, an Impian Kiding Run was organised by DAP on Sept 16, to coincide with Malaysia Day. Its ground-breaking ceremony event was attended by Bandar Kuching Member of Parliament Chong Chien Jen, who is also the Sarawak DAP chairman.