Have you guys ever done any good things for our Indian community out there? If NOthan this is your chance, if YES then continue to do it. Do you know about our Tamil school scenario in Malaysia? Before independence there were 888 Tamil schools nationwide, but 50 years later there are only 523 schools left. Almost 365 schools have been abolished since Independence Day. According to the Ministry of Education, the most expensive schools to be maintained are Tamil Schools, if we compare against the cost of education per capita of Indian students. Besides the poor students’ enrolment, among other problem faced by Tamil Schools were infrastructure, untrained teachers, poor accessibility, and lack of ICT education and language problem.
Realising this I planned for a charity project to help out a Tamil School in Kedah. I was helped by two lovely friends of mine, Miss Jayanthi and Miss Rubinidevi. The planning of this event was done 1 month prior to the date of the event. I gave Rubini a list of Tamil Schools and she did the finalizing of the schools. From 5 schools short listed, we chose S.J.K(T) Ladang Bukit Sidim as the venue to hold our project.
Than came the main part of this event that is “what items to be donated?” and “fund raising for this event”. Since it was back to school time, we decided to give away stationaries to the kids. We also donated story books and dictionaries to the school library as reading materials for the students. It’s amazing how things fell into place and how generous some people are in terms of their contributions, either in cash or time or both!
We managed to collect approximately RM2700 in funds. Rubini and Jayanthi did a splendid job in prepping up this event. They both did the running around in purchasing the items needed and raising the funds. They came up with a flyer and posted it on Facebook to inform friends and to raise funds too. A week before the event, Rubini called up the school headmaster to discuss about the event and also the suitable date for the big day. The headmaster was indeed very happy when she told him about the project.
|THE FLYERS DESIGNED FOR THE CHARITY PROJECT|
The school is 20km away from the nearest town that is Kulim. It is located at Ladang Bukit Sidim and surrounded by oil palm trees. The school is not a fully government aided school but is also aided by the National Land Finance Co-Operative Society (NLFCS). I was told that this school was built in the year 1997. It is because, there were a few Tamil Schools in this area but the enrolment was very low. The Federal Government than decided to close down these schools and build one school to accommodate the students. Currently there are 90 students in this school comprising of Standard 1 till Standard 6. The school has all the basic necessity that any other school needs such as classrooms, staffrooms, office, library, canteen, lab and a very big field.
|SURROUNDED BY OIL PALM TREES|
It was a gloomy Saturday morning when I left Butterworth Airforce Base to pick up Rubini. We started early in the morning at 7am. After loading my car with the items, we headed straight for Kulim to meet another two of Rubini’s friends Ammu and Bro Selvam. We met up with them and continued our journey to Ladang Bukit Sidim. So the participants for this project were a pitiful 4. Many could not turn up at the last minute due to personal matters.
The journey was not as I expected. It was a journey through rows and rows of palm oil trees and you can’t see anything else, seriously, anything else other than palm oil trees there. We finally reached the school at 9.30am and we were greeted by the 3 teachers and 8 students. The headmaster Mr. Ravi could not make it because he had to attend a meeting in Johor. Even the number of students who showed up was so few. We were informed by the teachers that it was school holiday season and many were away. It was also raining season at that time and most did not have proper transport to get to the school.
|FUTURE LEADERS OF TOMORROW WITH RUBINI|
We were given a short briefing about the school by one of the teachers and after which we started our activity. We distributed the stationaries and books to the teachers and students.
DISTRIBUTING THE STATIONARIES
DISTRIBUTING BOOKS FOR THE LIBRARY TO THE TEACHERS
We also brought some food and soft drinks for the kids. We distributed it to them and they were very happy to receive them. There was this boy who took one and hid it in his pocket and asked for more. It looked so cute to look at these kids. One thing that makes them stand out was although these children are poor, they were rich in smiles. That really made us happy. There is something about a child’s smile.
The school was very kind to prepare breakfast for us. Although it was just a simple meal, but it meant a lot for us. We felt really appreciated by the school. We ate and chatted with the teachers. We managed to get a lot of information about the status of Tamil Schools in Malaysia. It was really shocking to know that there are some schools that do not even have a proper classroom. We also spent a few moments interacting with the kids.
The teachers also took the opportunity to thank all the donors who had contributed generously for this event to be made possible. They also informed us about the poor condition they’re in and would appreciate any future assistance.