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Reita Rahim

Reita Rahim, a graphic design graduate, shifted her focus to indigenous handicrafts, particularly those crafted by Malaysia’s Orang Asal in 2004. She founded Gerai OA, a volunteer-driven initiative dedicated to documenting, reviving, repurposing, and marketing indigenous handicrafts, ensuring that 100% of sales go directly to the artisans.

Reita collaborates with a team of 33 volunteers and multiple Village Coordinators, operating pop-up markets within the Klang Valley to provide a platform for indigenous women and elders to earn supplemental income. She also established women’s groups in Orang Asli villages across Peninsular Malaysia and parts of Sabah, enabling them to access micro-funding and training for their own handicraft and culture-related businesses.

Her work extends to fundraising for various essential needs and infrastructure projects, often employing crowdfunding and the “gotong-royong” concept to ensure sustainability. She also leverages social media to raise awareness about the challenges faced by the Orang Asal and their efforts to protect their traditional territories against deforestation, plantations, and dams while promoting their rich culture and achievements to the wider Malaysian audience.

For us, making an impact is helping to solve the problems of our Orang Asal friends. Though it did not start as a conscious goal, our partnership with our indigenous friends quickly raised a necessity for identifying ways in which we can help them solve their problems. They have taught us to see the world differently.

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