Chan Zi Xiang (Aco)

An actuary by practice, Chan Zi Xiang left his corporate career to venture into community development work in rural Borneo.

The Langit Collective was born after Zi Xiang and his three colleagues of diverse backgrounds tasted delicious rice at Lawas Highlands while working with a non-profit called Impian Malaysia. During a gravity-fed water systems project in Long Semadoh, the foursome bonded with the villagers in the area and learned the harvested rice was going to waste due to the inability to sell it as the village was too remote and difficult to get to.

With years of engaging with rural indigenous communities, the foursome recognised that economic empowerment is more sustainable compared to charity models in the long run to improve communities’ livelihoods.

At the end of 2015, Langit Collective was established, selling the heirloom grains and the result was exponential with 30kg being sold in just two days.

To date, Langit Collective has touched the lives of 69 farmers from 9 different villages with a RM320,000 direct payout to the farmers. The social enterprise that bridges rural-urban economic gaps is the winner of The Star Golden Hearts and DBSF x SIF Social Impact Prize in 2019.

Riding on the success of Langit Collective, Langit Experience was established, providing experiential tours and an opportunity to shadow traditional rice farmers in Long Semadoh.

With the success of Langit Collective, Zi Xiang’s belief that the way forward for rural indigenous communities is through revaluing their unique heirloom agricultural products and conserving their indigenous wisdom has only been fortified.

Impact to me is beyond any numerical metrics. When someone is afforded a “choice”, that’s an impact.

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