“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” ~ Anthony Robbins
While most were busy partying their Friday nights away, volunteers from different cohorts in IMU were busy educating the children at Rumah Charis under our newly founded Discover the Joy of Learning project! Discover the Joy of Learning is an educational project conducted in Rumah Charis (Home for the Children) branched from the former Discover the Joy of Reading project that was conducted in Rumah Titian Kaseh. Both of these were led by Cheong Weng Tzun and Chang Siao Hui.
Discover the Joy of Reading and Learning projects are both sustainable and ongoing projects aimed at continuously providing support and guidance in the area of education and development of the orphans and the less fortunate children between the ages of 3 to 12. We specifically prioritise this age group of children as they are still in the early phases of learning. It is crucial for them to develop a strong foundation as a core component for their future education and basic life skill as they come out into the society in the future. Together with the support of our supervisor Dr Dinesh Kumar Chellappan and with the funding from IMU Cares, we were able to successfully conduct a series of learning activities for the children at Rumah Charis (Home for the children).
|Jackson Pau (Rumah Charis Coordinator)|
|What are your thoughts about the programme?|
|It is a very good programme. The children are given individual attention which I think is very beneficial as their levels are all different. This also allows bonding between the volunteer and child. I really appreciate the effort put into educating these children.|
Rumah Charis (Home for the Children) is a non-profit Christian based organisation which aims to provide care and a suitable environment for orphans and unprivileged, neglected, single parent children to nurture and help them continue in their education and encourage them emotionally through their ups and downs. It currently houses about 28 children who are under the age of 12 years old. With the permission of the caretakers, we conducted a total of 5 visits aimed at teaching the English language and essential life skills through interesting and interactive learning tools revolving around a chosen topic of the day. On our first visit (6 January 2017), we conducted an assessment on the children to gauge their proficiency in English, their ability to tell the time and do some simple mathematics. Based on their performance in this assessment, we customise the materials for our future visit to better suit their needs. The following visits were conducted on dates 13 January 2017, 20 January 2017, 17 February 2017 and 24 February 2017 which were aimed at teaching different topics based on the topic of the day. The topic for the visits was food, time and greetings as well as money counting and mathematics for the second, third, and fourth visits respectively. The children were divided into three groups based on their age 3-6 years old (Group A), 7-9 years old (Group B) and 10-12 years old (Group C) for all 5 visits. The reason for grouping them is due to the different levels of difficulty of the worksheets for all three groups. For each visit, every volunteer was assigned one child each to provide individualised attention to better guide the children based on their own pace. The volunteers started off each session by teaching and guiding the children through the provided learning materials. After that, the children were assessed on their ability to recall the lessons taught. After completing the assessments, volunteers also guided the older children with their homework. At the same time, the older group of children was also given tuition by our volunteers on any subject of interest that requires guidance. At the end of each session, the children were given booklets summarising the lessons taught as a reference to reinforce their memory.
|Jaramie Detara (Rumah Charis Caregiver)|
|What are the children’s feedback about the programme?|
|The children enjoyed this programme very much. They are very excited for the learning sessions every Friday and the opportunity to interact with their assigned volunteer. They would even compare what they’re learnt with their friends after each session!|
Overall, it was a fruitful and meaningful project that was very much appreciated by the children. The Discover the Joy of Learning project committee would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all our enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers that took time out of their Friday nights to spend time teaching and coaching the children at Rumah Charis. Together we have made an impact in the lives of these children to build a brighter future! As for the rest of the passionate volunteers out there, fret not! Stay tuned for our next projects where you too can give back to the society by joining us as a volunteer!
This article is written by Rachel Yong Sook Yi, Project Secretary of Discover the Joy of Learning project. Photos taken by Lucas Haw Photography.