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Academics plan to climb Himalayan peak in aid of preschoolers


Academics from The University of Nottingham, Dr Ting Kang Nee, and Dr Yvonne Mbaki, will be trekking and climbing to the peak of Naya Kanga mountain (5846m) in Kathmandu, Nepal from 13-23 April, to raise funds to support pre-school education for children from the Penan community in Sarawak.                 

Dr Ting heads the Department of Biomedical Sciences at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) and Dr Mbaki is a lecturer in Medical Physiology, School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham, UK, they were former colleagues at UNMC who are joining forces for this noble cause.

“The Penans used to be a nomadic hunter-gatherer indigenous community living in remote forests of Borneo and today many of them live in small communities located near their native ancestor land.  Their lifestyle and livelihood is greatly affected by the loss of forests. I strongly believe empowering their young generations with education will be the most practical way to lift them out from poverty and to support their transition to live in a ‘modern’ society,” explained Dr Ting. 

“Due to various circumstances, the young Penans have to leave their homes when they are 6 to live and study in boarding schools and without any knowledge of Bahasa Malaysia or English it is not surprising that many of these children are not able to cope and as a result many drop out of primary education. These young Penans who enter the national educational system also face social, cultural, economic and other multiple issues. One way to reduce such drop outs will be to prepare these children with a preschool education “said Dr Ting.

The Climb for Life 2 aims to raise at least RM 35,000 to provide preschool education to 30 children at Long Itam and Long Kawi villages by appealing for donation from alumni and staff of the University, friends and corporate sponsors that are keen to support this cause. Do watch this documentary depicting the struggles of this community due to the large scale deforestation. 

Dr Ting Kang Nee, an alumnus of the university also initiated the Climb for Life in 2013 which raised more than RM 19,000 for the National Cancer Society of Malaysia and Penang Hospice where she hiked for 11 days and reached the foot of Mount Everest (5,364m) and was subsequently awarded with the Laureate Award for Special Excellence by the University of Nottingham owing to her tireless contribution as a volunteer, initiator and leadership of cancer awareness campaign at UNMC.

Dr Mbaki who will be joining Dr Ting for Climb for Life II is looking forward to her maiden charity climb which is hugely inspired by the success of Climb for Life and its contribution towards palliative care.

“When Dr Ting undertook the first Climb for Life project, I was still working at UNMC, and following her journey through that process was truly inspirational.  The plight of the Penan community is heart wrenching and knowing that education is the driving seat to one’s future certainly puts into context how fortunate we are. The considerable difference pre-school education would make to these children’s futures makes this life changing project for the Penan children even more meaningful.” Dr Mbaki added.

Donation Information
Please follow the steps below when you make a donation towards this cause : 

  1. Go to epay online system
  2. At the online payment link, choose “Donation-Climb for Life 2” under Fees Name*. 
    (You are not required to submit your IC/Passport* number in the online payment form if you do not wish to disclose, all you have to do is type in any random series of numbers.) 
  3. For the Payment Description* please type “Climb for Life 2”. An official receipt will be generated for you to print once you have made the donation.
  4. Email the official receipt to Dr Ting Kang Nee   

Water for Life Project

UNMC began working with the Penan community last year with the UNMC’s Water 4 Life Project. The project was responsible for providing supply of clean water, sanitation, complete a preschool building and furnishing it with books and stationary for the Penan community in Long Itam.

The village, located in the interior of Sarawak, was in dire need of clean water, basic medical supplies and better education facilities, among others. Dr Ting brought a team of UNMC staff and students to Long Itam Village to build water pipes that supply clean water to the village in August 2014.

UNMC's 15th Anniversary

One of the world's truly global universities, with campuses in Malaysia, the UK and China, 2015 marks the 15th year since setting up as UK's first full-fledged international campus in Malaysia and all three campuses continue to enrich the lives of students across the world through global education, ground-breaking research and community engagement. 

(Thumbnail Image caption: Penan pre school children.

Article Image caption: The opening of the new preschool in Long Itam in August 2014 with the Water for Life team (in blue t-shirts) 


For more information, please contact Dr Ting Kang Nee on, Dr Yvonne Mbaki on or Josephine Dionisappu, PR & Communications Manager on +6 (03) 8924 8746,

The University of Nottingham  has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university,with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014).It is also the most popular university in the UK among graduate employers, in the top 10 for student experience  according to the Times Higher Education and winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at THE  Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’stop one per cent of universities by the QS World University Rankings. 

Impact:The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. 

Posted on 16th March 2015

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