Who are the Bonai Malay?

bonai-malayThere are 14,000 Bonai Malay. They live in the western part of the Riau province, which is in central Sumatra.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Until recently they were considered “foreign” by their own government because of their refusal to enter into the modern world. But in this generation, all of that has changed. The Bonai Malay have embraced a more modern way of life. They are sending their children to school. They are welcoming electricity and other tools into their villages for the first time. Prior to this generation the Bonai Malay lived as hunter-gatherers.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Because the Bonai Malay, unlike the other Malay groups on Sumatra, just recently received Islam, they struggle more with syncretism. They often default to the religious experiences of their forefathers. There are no known believers among this group. There is no indigenous church.

What Are Their Needs?

The Bonai Malay have great needs for continuing education and community development.

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