Who are they and what they do

gerai-oa-stall1

Reita Faida Rahim, started Gerai OA in October 2004. She is currently the leader of the volunteer group but she prefers to be considered the coordinator.

Gerai OA defines itself as a “nomadic volunteer-run stall which sells handicraft made by Orang Asal (or Orang Asli), the indigenous minorities of Malaysia”. They are not a business, not an NGO, just a volunteer group.

Their main objective is to preserve the indigenous minorities’ craft heritage by helping them to find and develop a sustainable market for their crafts. They only facilitate the sale of the craft and encourage the indigenous communities to develop their own businesses.

Gerai OA conducts research, lectures, craft workshops and training sessions throughout Malaysia to document, revive and revitalise the indigenous craft heritage of Malaysia. They also sell books and booklets related to indigenous peoples & issues.

What a traveller can experience

You can discover, appreciate and buy craft from various Malaysian minorities including:

Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia (Mah Meri, Semai, Semelai, Jakun Temiar and Temuan.); Orang Ulu of Sarawak (Borneo) (Bidayuh, Penan, Kenyah); Anak Negeri of Sabah (Borneo), (Rungus, Bajau and Dusun).

Gerai OA emphasizes functional products and sustainable resources. Among their wide choice of handicraft, you will surely find a light and unique souvenir truly and fairly made in Malaysia: natural jewellery made of seeds or rattan, delicate and useful baskets, boxes, pouches, made from pandanus leaves, You can even buy a mat for your afternoon nap.

Each product comes with a label that provides information about the material used, the craftperson’s name and the traditional use of the item. Gerai OA returns 100% of the stated price to the craftsperson named on the label.

Craft can be bought either at one of Gerai OA stalls, at the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) shop in Kuala Lumpur, or directly from to the local communities (ask Reita for the contacts), and now via elevyn e-shop.

You can buy their books at the MNS shop and online at http://www.coac.org.my

You can volunteer:  Gerai OA is always looking for more volunteers to manage the stall, pick up craft from villages, cut tags, etc. If you are interested in helping out, do let them know by dropping them an email at szening@gmail.com with the subject, ‘Put me on the volunteer spam list!’.

Contacts

  • Sze Ning to stay in touch and be informed about when and where the Gerai OA stall will be. Email : szening@gmail.com            HP (+60) 12 606 1592   
  • Reita Faida Rahim, Gerai OA coordinator for general information, research and lectures.    Email reitafaidarahim@yahoo.com.my or geraioa@gmail.com  HP (+60) 19 751 8686 
  • Check out the Gerai OA facebook page and be one of their fan

Related posts

Tompoq Topoh Mah Meri Women’s workshop 
The Semai of Ulu Geroh 

To go further we recommend

The Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC) website provides information and commentary on the Orang Asli.

 

Written by C.Bossis, Kuala Lumpur, 9 sept 08.

Permission granted to reproduce for personal use only. Commercial use is prohibited.

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