A series of films captures the power of community in making a long-term positive impact for Langkawi
Iconic Malaysian resort The Datai Langkawi has released a series of films celebrating the work of its community support programme under The Datai Pledge. Launched in August 2021 as a private trust, The Datai Pledge is the resort’s sustainability and conservation programme implemented in partnership with local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), social enterprises and community partners. The films shine a light on unsung heroes from different community segments, highlighting their efforts to educate and improve the well-being of the youth, underprivileged, wildlife and environment of Langkawi, with support from The Datai Pledge – while profiling important climate-relevant causes.
The Datai Pledge aims to be an active instigator for change through its four pillars – Pure For The Future, Fish For The Future, Wildlife For The Future and Youth For The Future. The programme aims to: integrate sustainability and conservation into all aspects of The Datai Langkawi’s business operations and guest experiences; protect and help regenerate the rich terrestrial and marine biodiversity of Langkawi; and enable the local community to thrive. At the heart of its vision is a recognition of the interdependence between ecosystems and humans, and that true impact is achieved when all stakeholders benefit. Comprehensive and far-reaching, The Datai Pledge’s community support programme results from a holistic, cross-pillar approach, producing both tangible short and longer-term results.
Arnaud Girodon, Executive Administrator of The Datai Pledge and Chief Executive Officer of Datai Hotels and Resorts, comments: “The Datai Pledge is part of the community, and since 2021 our programme has helped many of Langkawi’s children and their families, underprivileged members of society, artisans and farmers, as well as the environment and wildlife. These films highlight the many different initiatives we support and also demonstrate that by creating a dialogue between the different collaborators and beneficiaries of the community, we can make a bigger impact. The films celebrate the people behind these projects, all of whom are united by a single purpose: to improve the well-being of the environment, wildlife and community of Langkawi, ensuring that we preserve its treasures for future generations to cherish.”
Four films document the community support programme of The Datai Pledge in Langkawi. Overview covers the breadth of the programme; Geng Bersih Kampung covers the inspiring work of a donation-funded community centre; The Kansha Life Project depicts the efforts of a social enterprise in providing livelihoods to the underprivileged through sustainability-based enterprises; whilst Eco-Schools Programme details the impact of a global sustainability education programme in a local government school. They introduce the significance of each initiative and communicate the achievements and why they matter.
In Overview, Arnaud Girodon explains how the programme has brought together and assisted different segments of the community. Initiatives range from helping local fishers with beach clean-ups, supporting artisans with sustainable enterprises, and assisting farmers in cultivating organic produce, to highlighting the work of grass-roots social enterprises, and educating the future citizens of Langkawi on environmental issues.
Geng Bersih Kampung (GBK) tells the story of a lively community space which has provided local youth with an array of life skills. Told from the perspective of its indomitable founder, Zuraidah Zainal Abidin (aka ‘Kak Zu’) and featuring Dr Louisa Ponnampalam, co-founder of NGO MareCet, which is dedicated to marine mammal conservation and research, and also the official partner of the Fish For The Future pillar under The Datai Pledge, the film demonstrates how extra-curricular education can make a difference to self-esteem and life outlook in young people. GBK’s programme includes practising heritage activities like silat (a traditional martial art), understanding local plants and animals, and improving language skills. Existing purely on private donations and support from The Datai Pledge, GBK’s community space also provides a vital social space for children, many of whom are living below the poverty line (a demographic segment called the ‘B40’ in Malaysia).
The Kansha Life Project documents the work of another social enterprise which has devised creative ways to upcycle and recycle commercial waste, that would otherwise end up in the landfill, into beautiful new products for sale, with help from The Datai Pledge. Told from the perspective of a Kansha Life Project volunteer, Mahdar Tahir, the film depicts how the desire to make sustainable change can both provide employment to the B40 community as well as bring people together, alleviating social ills such as isolation, whilst promoting an exchange of ideas.
The Eco-Schools film shows the positive impact of its environmental education programme on pupils of SK Temonyong primary school, one of the three Langkawi schools sponsored by The Datai Pledge. Present in over 5,000 schools in Malaysia, the Eco-Schools programme was brought into the country by WWF Malaysia and is currently fully operated by the NGO Green Growth Asia Foundation (GGAF), which is also the official pillar partner for Youth For The Future under The Datai Pledge. The need for such a programme was highlighted by a recent United Nations study* showing that nine out of ten children in Malaysia have been affected by climate change, with many saying they need more knowledge in order to tackle the problem. The film documents the programme’s initiatives and illustrates how educating children on sustainability can produce a ripple effect within their wider community.
The films were conceptualised by Gowri B Consultancy, and directed by the British-Malaysian documentary filmmaker, Myles Storey. Myles has worked on productions with the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) Natural History Unit and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Malaysia. His recent works include the much-acclaimed documentary Finding Solo, selected for many international wildlife film festivals last year, and Wang Kelian – The Forgotten Valley which was broadcast on national Malaysian TV in August 2023.
In recognition of its efforts in the framework of The Datai Pledge, The Datai Langkawi has achieved ASEAN Green Hotel Standard Certification 2020-2022 and 2022-2024; EarthCheck Silver Certification 2019, 2021 & 2023 (the first and only organisation worldwide to achieve this for terrestrial tourism projects); and the Malaysia Green Hotel Certification 2019-2022 & 2023-2026.
*Source: National Youth Climate Change Survey Malaysia by UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), 2020.
Notes to Editors:
To view the Community videos by The Datai Pledge, please click here.
For high-resolution photos of The Datai Pledge, please click here.
For high-resolution photos of The Datai Langkawi, please click here.
ABOUT THE DATAI LANGKAWI
One of the world’s most stunning resorts, The Datai Langkawi, is situated on the northwest tip of the island of Langkawi in Malaysia. Located in an ancient rainforest rich in wildlife and overlooking the tranquil Datai Bay awarded by National Geographic one of the Top 10 Beaches worldwide, the iconic property enchants with mesmerising nature, visionary architecture, understated elegance, and Malaysian hospitality. All the 121 rooms, villas, and suites at The Datai Langkawi, including the five-bedroom The Datai Estate Villa, offer breath-taking views of the surrounding nature. Elevated among treetops, set in the very heart of the rainforest, and located directly on the coastline, the dining outlets which include the award-winning The Gulai House, The Pavilion, The Dining Room, and The Beach Club, pay homage to the exotic flavours and culinary traditions of the region and beyond. Bespoke facilities include The Nature Centre, an educational facility and home to resident naturalists and marine biologists, and The Spa featuring Ramuan treatments, its own Akar retail range, and Voya facials. Leisure facilities include three pools, a state-of-the-art fitness centre at The Health Club; an array of wellness activities including Pilates and yoga, retail outlet The Boutique, a reserved space to showcase local arts and talents at The Atelier, as well as one of the most scenic golf courses in the world designed by golf legend Ernie Els, The Els Club Teluk Datai. The resort has founded The Datai Pledge in 2019 - a sustainability and conservation trust that supports Langkawi’s unique fauna, flora, and communities. All proceeds from The Datai Pledge aid this work and contribute to local non-profit organisation. The Datai Langkawi is managed by Datai Hotels and Resorts Sdn Bhd, a company incorporated to manage and operate hospitality properties in Malaysia and beyond.