Rumah arau is a halfway house located nearby a primary school in the remote areas of Sarawak. Rumah araus are typically a community effort – built through the gotong-royong concept by school teachers and villagers.
The home is a temporary shelter for preschoolers who live too far away for a daily commute. Preschoolers, who are not eligible to stay in the school hostel due to their young age, usually put up in these rumah araus during the school week, accompanied by their mother who brings along younger siblings. They would take the long journey home to be with the rest of their families only for the weekends.
Most existing rumah araus are in dire condition due to the lack of maintenance, and they also lack basic necessities such as running water and electricity. The homes are also too small to fit increasing numbers of preschoolers and their accompanying family members.
In 2010, 1MDB built rumah araus for 12 schools in the interior of Sarawak. Built with the assistance of the local community, the rumah araus come complete with running water and electricity, bathrooms, as well as a kitchen for the mothers to cook in.
The homes are our small contribution to ease access to early education for children in remote areas.