Friday, December 31, 2010

Year End Christmas Party With Myanmar Refugee Kids

We decided to have the Christmas/Year End/New Year party with the young children from Myanmar a.k.a refugees. Lots of work and time was spend in getting the logistics and to ensure all things goes well. We informed Chris on the date, so that the students are informed with a mailer to the parents.

Special thanks to the Yeo family for the snacks, clothes, toys for the party packs.....

Whistle ..we almost gone deaf when they blew it all at the same time..thanks to one misbehaving volunteer Gary the exec-Kuli..ahem.. :P
This is the most favourite toy around as the kids were very focus on this!

Twisties Curry taste..yum yum...

Some adult clothes to be given to the parents of the kids.

2nd most favourite toys for the boys!!!

As the 'Food Department' was late in delivering the food, our volunteer start the party by playing musical chairs and the kids have lots of fun with this.

Waiting for the party to start

Party packs ready to be given away and food at the background

Talented kid.. he performed Justin Bieber's Baby Baby..but video is 277Mb to be uploaded!!

Waiting to storm the food!!! Total count - 68 of them.

The smaller kids performing a song

Dont want to sing, but teacher say Sing! ha ha...

Lining up for the food..the kids are well disciplined. Thumbs up for them!

Food Dept very slow...queue is loooong !!!

Its like a assembly line, take fork n spoon, noodle, rice, nuggets, chicken meat and hot dogs...

Enjoying their food and drinks. 6-8 yrs old

3-6 years old

Junk foods!!!

Gift time!! Kids have their hands full of it as there are so many freebies...

One for me, one for you....

So many things to take, my hand are just so small!

Opps...too many stuff and the bag koyak!

Boys will always be boys! Lining up for the party packs

Excited kids looking at what is waiting for them

Enjoying their party packs...

Favourite toys.. the handphone!!!

...and race car!!!

Handphone toy again ...

Going back time....

Finished !!! Nothing left to tapau also...!

As part of the required items based on the earlier list, we wanted to donate 2 fire extinguishers earlier, but was told that UNHCR will donate this in the coming week, so with the budget RM300 is will be utilize for other things. We will be getting big floor mat to cover the whole kindergarden.


First Aid Kit and also toys for the center

Our Expenses
a) Paper plate - 100 (split to 2 and it become 200!), Fork n Spoon - 150 pairs -Cost - RM14.80
b) Chicken Nugget / Hot Dog / Fried Noodle / Rice -RM160
c) Drinks - 100 plus / Coke/ Ice cream soda - 15 bottles / tissue paper / paper cups - RM62
d) 3 chickens - RM52
e) 2 study tables - RM180
f) First Aid Kits - RM 170

Lastly, special thanks to all the donors and volunteers who have make this party a success, and thanks to the Yeo family, the toys are just fantastic!!! The most popular one is the handphone and the race car! Also thanks to the volunteer who brought a nice chocolate cake..

A cake for the volunteers
 We started this in January 2010, and it has been a year full of activities, and I am glad that  COLLECTIVELY all of us have make a difference in the life of underprivileged people.  We hope to have more participation in the coming year. Have a good year ahead and God bless all of you. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

HELP Community Learning Center - Broucher

Unwanted and unwelcome by their own government and often being subjected to constant harassment, the Myanmar ethnic minorities were forced to flee their village and braved the jungles to escape into neighboring countries such as India, Thailand and Malaysia. In Malaysia alone the numbers of Myanmar refugees are more than 100,000. Out of this, approximately 13,000 are of school going ages, but with only less than half of them in schools. As Malaysia is not a state party to the 1951 United Nation Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol, refugees are treated as illegal immigrants and are not accepted into public schools.

In December 2008, we were approached by a Myanmar pastor who informed us about the problems faced by the Myanmar communities in Kepong. One major concern then was that there was no school they could send their children to get an education. A small school operated for just 6 months and was closed due financial problems. There was an urgent need for a school to be set up for the 50 Myanmar children who have reached school going age then. With the help of Sister Danielle Ee of Jesus Caritas Parish in Kepong, we started planning and raising fund for the setting up of what was then called Kepong Migrant Learning Centre.

Some Foundations and individuals like Sue Yian of Hong Leong Foundation, members of SIBKL, Jesus Caritas Parish and even people from as far as Singapore and Kuching have contributed to pay for rental deposits and first month rental and bought text books, fans, lightings, building materials, paints, tables and chairs, as well as educational aids etc. to help set up the school. Eventually on May 4, 2009, the Kepong Migrant Learning Centre opened its door to 50 Myanmar children. The name of the school was later changed to HELP Community Learning Centre.

In April, 2010, after spending another RM13,000 to purchase electrical equipment, paying of rental deposits and renovation cost including painting, electrical and plumbing works, we moved into a new location. The new premise has a total floor area of 3,500 sq. ft on 2 floors in a 4-storey shop-lot a few blocks away from the old school. We partitioned 4 classrooms on the 2nd floor for elementary classes. There is 1 room used as a store room and a big hall on the 3rd floor for 2 preschools classes. The need to relocate the school is due to the increase in the school population from 50 to more than 80 students and from 4 classes to 6 classes.  Our classes are from preschool to standard 7.

There are 3 full-time teachers and 3 part-time teachers in the school now. By part-time we mean they work from 9:30am to 12:15pm from Monday to Friday. In the afternoon, evening and weekends, they have to take up other jobs because we can only afford to pay them RM250 each per month and give each a 10 kgs. pack of rice despite some of them being Masters degree holders.  We shall continue to pray that one day, in the very near future, we may be able to pay them better and upgrade all of them to full-time teachers.

With some help from UNHCR, 3 of the present teachers have been upgraded to full-time teachers since August, 2010. They are given a RM800 monthly compensation but such sponsor may only last till December, 2010. We have also revised the wages of the remaining part-time teachers from RM250 to RM350 per month starting August, 2010.

At present, we teach only 3 subjects namely English, Mathematics and Science in the English language. We have just started classes in the afternoon to teach Burmese, the national language of the Myanmar people in September, 2010. As there are more than 11 different ethnic tribes among the Myanmar children in our school, we can only teach the Burmese language, this is also at the request of all the parents. Since most of these children may be resettled to English speaking developed countries such as American. Australia, Canada etc., we feel the emphasis should be on the English language. This is to prepare them for schooling wherever they may be resettled later.
We collect a token monthly sum of RM20 as school fees from each student, RM15 for siblings of students and RM10 for children of single mothers. Each student is given a pack of milk powder worth approximately RM25 when they pay their school fees. Every day we serve each child with biscuits or waffles and a tablet of chewable multi vitamin. We need a several kilos of biscuits or waffles each day, although we do get sponsors for them every now and then, we need to purchase most of them.

Before we started the project for the new school premise, we had a buffer fund of approximately RM10,000. The relocation to the new premises have left us in debts which we are still struggling to repay. In order to create a better educational environment with better ventilation and space, we decided to move into the present new and much bigger premise. We believe in providing a better study environment for these children.

We have been blessed with donations of 2 units of projectors and a scanner from Epson Malaysia and a set of Dell desktop computer complete with LCD monitor from Help University College recently. We are praying that we may be able to get donation for a laptop for both management and educational use in different classes. We are also hoping to build a computer lab to start computer classes for our students but that would require at least 10 units of desktop computers with LCD monitors costing approximately RM13,000. It may take a long time before we may be able to raise enough funds to fulfill that dream.

As the number of students continues to increase, we find the need for additional tables and chairs for the classrooms. We anticipate more students to join our school in the next few months. It has always been our wish to provide school uniforms to all the students to give them a sense of pride as a student of the school. If we provide 2 uniforms per student, the uniform project would cost us at least RM6,000 excluding school shoes. We will ask the parents to purchase school shoes for their own children.

Twenty students who are staying in Bukit Maluri and Pusat Kepong have left us because it was too far to walk to school and they could not afford to pay RM70 per month in fare for the school bus. It is our hope that one day we may be able to buy a second hand school van to pick up these children so that they may have the opportunity to be educated. There are also pupils staying in Sri Damansara and Menjalara who would like to join us but they too cannot afford the transport charges.

At HELP Community Learning Centre, volunteers and sponsors play very important roles in helping us be what we are today and hopefully in the future too. The donations, both in cash and kind, helped us pay for all the necessities, teachers’ salaries, utility bills, cost of the renovations and relocation expenses as well as other expected expenses. Without the support from our sponsors, we would never have progressed this far. We have local volunteers who come in 2 or 3 mornings a week to teach our students the English language. We even have an American volunteer who flew all the way from New York to serve in our school for 5 weeks. It is amazing how many kindhearted people there are in this world. We will always welcome both local and foreign voluntary volunteers to come to our school to teach the English.

The command of spoken English of our Myanmar teachers is insufficient to fulfill the standard we desire. For this reason, we are attempting to have an ongoing teachers training program.

Social clubs like the Lions and Rotary clubs have also been such a blessing to our kids. They have organized children parties, field trips and movies and some are conducting story reading classes during weekends for our students.

The pre-university and matriculation students and lecturers of HELP University College have been among our biggest supporters. They have organized various functions to help raise fund for us and constantly come to visit our school and organize parties in their campus for our students too.

Publishers like Oxford Fajar, Longman etc. have been so kind to provide us with lots of workbooks, dictionaries, atlas, story books etc. We hope to invite with more publishers to come forward to help us in our constant needs for educational books and materials

Our current premises need maintenance; there will always be some electrical wiring to be done, lightings to be fixed, a small partition works or pipe leaks to be repaired etc. It is our hope that we may be able to put together a list of volunteers who may be able to provide their professional services to us when such needs arise.

Top Priorities of HELP Community Learning Centre
1)     Fulltime teachers

There are 6 teachers in the school now, 3 of them being fulltime teachers sponsored by UNHCR and the other 3 being part-time teachers. Fulltime teachers are paid RM800 per month whereas part-time teachers are onjly paid RM350. Upgrading 3 part-time teachers to fulltime would require a budget of RM2,400 per month (RM800 x 3), or RM28,800 per year.

We acknowledge the need to extend schooling hours to at least 4 hours each day. This will require upgrading our part-time teachers to fulltime. The decision to upgrade them is dependent on the availability of funding. 

1)     Teachers’ training program

We know the importance of trainings for our teachers. Although Harvest Centre is providing occasional teachers’ training courses, we feel an ongoing teachers’ training program would greatly benefit our teachers. Such trainings may be conducted over weekends or after class (3.00pm) in the afternoon. We plan to appeal to educational institutions of higher education, especially those in the field of teachers training, to help us with this ongoing teachers training program.

2)     Setting up of a computer lab

Being computer literate at a young age is absolutely essential in the modern society we live in, more so for people who may be resettled in developed countries like America, UK or Australia etc. Out of 86 students, more than 50 are age 7 to 16. There is an urgent need to start computer classes for these students. The plan is to start a lab with 10 to 12 computer of at least Pentium 4 (used or new) and above or its equivalents like AMD or even Atom processors.  The computers should come with legal Window XP operating system software, Linux operating system can also be considered if we can get professionals to train our students on the use of the software.  We can install and use the free IBM Lotus Symphony office software for word processing, presentation and spreadsheet.

The setting up of a computer lab would require some office partitioning and extensive electrical wiring works with at least 12 units of twin sockets required for the computers. We shall also need computer furniture and would prefer the lab to be in an air-conditioned room to protect the computers.  Meanwhile, we also need a laptop computer that we can bring from class to class to conduct educational programs.

WISH LIST (fixed assets)
1)        A basic laser printer for the admin. office                            RM350
2)        An injet colour printer with extra external ink tank               RM400
3)        4 units Cupboards with door and lock (for libraray)             @RM350 x 4 = RM1,400
4)        6 units exhaust fans for classrooms/toilets                           @RM100 x 6 = RM600
5)       10 units L4 feet x W18” classroom tables                             @RM120 x 10 = RM1,200
6)        6 units of fire extinguishers (6 or 9 kgs.)                              @RM90 x 6 = RM540
7)        A 2nd hand van to ferry students                                          RM30,000 to RM40,000
8)        Office/management table W30” x L6’                                  RM500
9)       2 units Laptop computers for classroom use                        RM2,000 x 2 = RM4,000
10)   Desktop computers to set up computer lab                   RM1,300 x 10 = RM13,000

OTHER NEEDS (fast moving consumables)

1.      Biscuits (various types) @RM8 per kg. x 35 kgs.
per month                                                                                RM280 per month
2.      Exercise books (various types) 40 books
per month. x RM0.45 per book                                              RM18 per month
3.      White board markers (with refill) Pilot Board Master
Blue/Black, refill is about RM20 per box of 12 refills             RM40 per month        

We invite you to visit us and experience the happiness that comes from giving and showering love to the poor, marginalized and persecuted people. You will be amazed how much joy they will bring to you in return.

We know most of you are working professionals and may not be free to visit us during weekdays. Although school schedule is from Monday to Friday, there are usually classes on Saturday too.

For more information, please contact Chris Jong at 012 8730 380.

For contributions, please issue cheque or bank in to :-

Scripture Resources
AmBank (M) Berhad

Account no. 243-201-200779-2

HELP Community Learning Centre (Myanmar Refugees)

Date: 12/12/2010 Sunday

Time: 4pm - 5pm
Venue: Help Education Center (Myanmar Refugee)

Caretaker: Chris Jong

Contact: 012 873 0380

Profile: Myanmar Refugee

Total: 95 kids age 4-17.

Upon finishing lunch, we proceed to the HELP Community Center in Kepong. The school is normally not open on Sunday, but the centre has gracefully accommodate to change Monday's schedule to Sunday. When we reach there, the kids were in class. Not many students came over as its a Sunday.

Class in Progress

Stair case mural
Lovely wall mural

Chris was there to greet us and ushered us to his office, explained to us how the refugees make their way to Malaysia. All of them are currently in transition to English speaking country such as US, Australia, etc. The objective of this school is to provide basic education to the kids, so that they are able to have a better life when they are relocated. 

Briefing by Chris on the center's core mission

We were told that the refugees paid to come to Malaysia and have to travel through the jungles for 2 weeks to reach Malaysia, and during the time, their safety is at risk. You would have to hear the story right from Chris to know how bad the situation is. We should be lucky that we have our country, compared to them where they are prosecuted by their own government and face all the danger traveling through the jungle to reach here.

The center consist of 2 floors, which can accommodates 95 students. Currently, total students increase about 5 each month, and they are looking to expand to another floor in the next building.
The corridor between the offices and the class room. Reminds me of those tuition days!

Seems that everyone here loves to smile!

Class room for the 15-17yrs old students

Upper floor class for the younger children

Guess the kids love the attention given for the day.

Photos with the pretty ladies .. ;) 

Happy faces.. Remember, happiness is in the state of your mind.

Our deliveries this round is mostly stationary 
Great gift for the kids from Melinda & team.

Stationary purchased from Tesco..all comes up to nearly RM400!!!

Our deliveries which are all stationary and 2 tins of biscuits

Teacher (L) with Melinda (R)

Students with our Singaporean guest

The team with Chris

Class in action. Used tables from kindergarden.

Again, thank you to all the donors again for making this visit a success. We hope to see more of you all soon. Special thanks for Melinda & team for joining us again and with all the gifts.