Based in a village by the Merbok River, we are an organization working on conservation of natural heritage and sustainable, community-based rural development. Volunteers can help us at two locations: the floating eco lodge + oysterfarm or at sustainable island Bidan.
Our aim is to create a resilient community that is connected to the land and is able to protect it.
Working towards this goal, we are developing a local economic model based on alternative, low impact tourism that is sustainable, taking care of the earth as well as the people.
We have a community owned oyster farm including a restaurant and a guesthouse floating on the mangrove river. Here, volunteers will help with the oysters and can learn about oyster farming. They also get to help with the construction, rice farming, and accommodating guests. They will be part of our family and will be sharing life here with us.
There is plenty of life and beauty for volunteers to enjoy in their free time, such as swimming in the river, exploring the mangrove in a kayak, or the village on a bicycle.
On the unpopulated island of Pulau Bidan, an hour boat journey from the oyster farm, we have been building a small community to run conservation efforts and protect the island from irresponsible use.
We build mostly from scratch, using materials found around and also brought in from the mainland, making use of available natural resources, and growing our own food to sustain ourselves. Permaculture ethics and principles guide our development process.
Boats come in weekly to transfer people and food items. On the weekends, we get tourist groups coming in to camp and fish. Here, too, we are trying to raise awareness by creating a sustainable, low-impact, tourism model.
Life in Pulau Bidan is an experience itself. On your own, isolated from society, you are fully responsible for your own well-being as well as the place you are living in.
This requires being mindful of your surrounding and your own behaviour, as every action has a consequence, and in a small, close-knit, self-sustaining community surrounded by wild nature, your actions can have a direct impact. It also demands your effort to learn about the work required to sustain the community, from general maintenance to basic construction to caring for the gardens and the animals.
We make an effort to be mindful and compassionate towards local culture, as this is an important factor to the success of any community project. As such, visitors, especially volunteers, are expected to be understanding and sensitive towards local culture and values. We also believe that this is a part of low-impact tourism, and a good skill to learn on your travels.
Mantenimiento / bricolage
Cocinar / compras
Ayuda en una granja
Ayuda en proyecto ecológico
Ayuda de caridad
Travellers coming here have a opportunity to immerse themselves in rural Malay culture. The Malays are a shy, gentle and welcoming people with a laid-back approach towards life. They are Muslims and spirituality plays an important part in their life.
By spending time with the locals, they can learn their values and outlook on life, as well as their traditional cooking, architecture, fishing and rice farming. There will be opportunity to mingle with local folks when there is a wedding in the village, where authentic traditional Malay cuisine is guaranteed.
General maintenance and cleanliness, community living, construction work, farm work, garden and animal care. Sometimes help teaching at the charity education center. Experience and skills are highly appreciated.
Camping, dormitory, shared accommodation. Separate male and female accommodation available.
THE OYSTER FARM
The oyster farm is a community sustainable income project. The project was initiated by Paksu, a local fisherman/farmer and a strongman of a local NGO, Puncak Charity and Education Club (Kelab Puncak). The farm is a hand built floating platform and is part of a floating village on the mangrove river. Life is shared with the local people, and is a great place to experience the Malaysian countryside.
There is a local village nearby where we can drive to the markets for necessities and food for the farm and the island.
There is plenty of life and beauty for volunteers to enjoy in their free time, such as diving into the river, exploring the mangrove in a kayak, or the village on a bicycle. There is a lot of history in and around the farm as well. Lembah Bujang is the host to the oldest civilization in Southeast Asia, dated back 1500 years to 535 BCE.
Pulau Bidan is a tiny, unpopulated island off the coast of Tanjung Dawai, Kedah, in the North of Malaysia. It is about one hour boat ride from our village.
The island is a Forest Reserve and most of it is covered in rainforest with tall trees. There is plenty of space and beauty to enjoy. There are trails going into the forest and out to the other side of the island where visitors can view the sunset.
Volunteers will be living in a survival-like setting, close to wild nature. Being isolated from society and in such closeness with nature, it is a good place for reflection and contemplation as well as picking up experience and skills.
We are looking for people with love for nature and people, who can appreciate a good conversation and also silence.
The accomodation in both project bases is shared dormitory style. Separate male and female accomodation is available.
We provide mattresses and mosquito nets, but bring your own mosquito repellent. Camping is also an option.
Internet access is available on mobile devices, but we do not have wifi, so you will need to purchase internet before you come. Maxis (Hotlink) and Celcom is what we recommend. However, we urge you to stay disconnected during this time, and connect with nature and people instead.
Go to the nearest city, Sungai Petani. It can be reached by bus or train.
From there take a cab (MYR15 -20) to the Semeling Jetty where we will come to pick you up by boat.
The boat goes to the island weekly to transfer people and resources. The cost to get to the island and back is MYR80 per person.
As we are working on an isolated island and move by boat, our operation costs are significantly higher. We are yet to make a sustainable income to cover our costs, and your contribution really helps. For the moment we request a daily fee of MYR20 (USD5) to cover the living cost, with a part going to the conservation fund. Three meals (vegetarian/fish) a day provided.
The rural Malays are a shy, gentle and welcoming people with a laid-back approach towards life. They are Muslims and spirituality and culture plays an important part in their life.
They dress and behave modestly. Loose shirt and long pants are the most appropriate in this culture and climate. T-shirts and knee-length shorts are acceptable. Inappropriate clothing makes the locals feel uncomfortable, attracts unwanted attention and creates tension. Also, it affects the image of the project from the eyes of surrounding communities.
They normally sit on the floor in a circle around the food when eating. This circle is sacred. Make space for people, and care not walk over any food or drink as this is very offensive to them. Walk outside the circle if possible, and not break into it and walking in front of people sitting to eat. If you have to pass in front of people sitting, you can bow down when walking across them to show respect.
There are social boundaries between men and women. Please refrain from hugging a local person of the opposite sex. A hello and a smile is enough.
It is important for volunteers to understand that respecting local values and sensitivities is an integral part to the success of any community project. If we are here to help the locals, the least thing we could do is make them feel comfortable and respected. In return, they will respect and welcome you as family.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
In developing countries (Where most hosts are involved in charity work or community development) some of our hosts may ask for a small donation to help the host family or charity (often less then 5 dollars per day) Workaway will allow this listing when the donation goes directly to the family or charity and is just to cover the cost of the volunteer‘s stay. (This will be clearly marked on the host listing).
We will strictly not allow listings posted by agents, “middle men” or projects who we feel are looking to profit from a volunteers stay.