TikTok’s online sales of forest products help Orang Asli woman to pay for building a house

TEMERLOH, March 17: In nearly five months of dabbling in business, an Orang Asli woman from the Jahut tribe, will have her dream house this May, currently being built from sales of her forest products on TikTok.

Although it is only a small house to shelter the whole family, it gives immense satisfaction to Nur Rafidah Man, 26, from Kampung Penderas, Kuala Krau, here.

She started her business in November last year by producing products based on forest resources such as kacip fatimah (labisia pumila), tongkat ali (eurycoma longifolia jack) and honey. But she did not expect that sharing her daily routine as well as Orang Asli customs and her village’s tranquility on TikTok could open doors for her to generate income.

Using the @Jungle Girl account, the mother of a six-year-old daughter is now making a decent living, with nearly 60,000 followers on TikTok.

Nur Rafidah said that her confidence to do business through TikTok arose after going through a multimedia and digital business workshop, organised by a special education teacher, at the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Kuala Krau, in June and August last year.

“Initially, I doubted if I could do it, but after the first time I did it and saw the results of the commission I got, I felt motivated, and without thinking twice I did it consistently.

“After that, I started doing business as an affiliate, by involving promotion activities and direct sales of other products, such as food and skincare, to get a side commission,” she said recently.

Nur Rafidah said among the things she learnt from the workshop were video recording and editing, selection of interesting video content titles as well as crucial equipment such as wireless microphones, lights and tripods.

Based on that, Nur Rafidah, who previously worked as a school canteen assistant, tried to produce her own products based on forest resources.

“I did not expect my attempt to be successful, and I never thought I would be able to generate more income compared with my previous job,” she said, adding that she has sold 9,000 units of her products, such as herbal oil, herbs and honey.

Meanwhile, SMK Kuala Krau integration special education multimedia teacher, Mohammad Hazeem Azemi, said Nur Rafidah was among 43 people from the first group of Orang Asli, who benefited from the multimedia studio facilities at the school.

He said that, although the studio was specifically for special education students, the position of SMK Kuala Krau, which is located outside the city about 35 km from Temerloh, encouraged the school to open the facility to the local population, including Orang Asli.

“I believe that teachers are not only able to change the students’ thinking, but are also able to help improve the socioeconomics of the local community,” said Mohammad Hazeem.