The Malaysian Harvest Festival, celebrated each year in the region of Sabah, Borneo, is always a happy occasion – a chance for the community to come together and share a feast of traditional dishes.

This month’s celebration in the small community of Bongkud was particularly special though. As well as the harvest, the attendees – made up of local community members and gap year volunteers – were celebrating the housewarming of local man Julin, at his brand-new home purpose built by Camps International volunteers.

Borneo - completed elderly house project - housewarming

70 year-old Julin had been living alone on the edge of the village in an old and dilapidated bamboo building. His home was very run down with holes in the roof that let in lots of rain during downpours.

Without family of working age to support him, Julin was unable to fix things in his home or afford to pay for repair works.

Borneo - Elderly house project - before

Despite suffering from loss of hearing and other health problems, Julin is well known for being active and helpful, often doing odd jobs around the village to help his neighbours. Members of the local community wanted to give something back and help Julin improve his own living situation.

Our Camp Bongkud is located in the middle of the village where Julin lives, and our permanent on-the-ground presence here means we really are a part of the community. When Julin’s neighbours came to us with a proposal to help build him a new home, we were happy to offer our support and help get the project started straight away.

Borneo - Elderly house project - During 2

Our gap year volunteers worked together with the villagers to plan and build the new home, with the blessings from the chief of the village. In just a couple of weeks, the new home was complete.

The housewarming was a great occasion for the community and volunteers to come together and celebrate what can be achieved through sharing local knowledge, collaborating together and committing to supporting those most in need.

Borneo - Elderly house project - During

We’ve been working in Borneo since 2008 and in that time we’ve been extremely proud to complete over 100 life-changing projects like this one. With your help, we can continue this amazing work.

We rely on dedicated volunteers – people just like you – to spend a few weeks or months volunteering with us in our unique camps, co-located with rural communities.

This enables us to maintain year-round support for these communities, and ensure we can commit to long-term initiatives as well as being able to step in and help with more spontaneous projects like Julin’s house.

Borneo 2016-08-12 08

You could be working on housing projects like this one, helping to improve access to education or developing important community facilities.

You can also get stuck into our conservation projects, helping to support the ecosystem in fragile environments. Whenever, and wherever, you choose to travel with us, you will be contributing to projects that are really needed and make a measurable impact to local people’s lives.

To find out how you can get involved and be part of amazing stories like these, click here to enquire today.