Turnout - 54 primary students, 3 preschoolers, 52 parents.
EduCamp fixed on 8-13 Dec
Reading was 25-26 Oct
Impian Team: Cheryl & Adrian
Local Reps: Mr. Chang & Sanjan Daik
Village is located 1.5hour from Kuching, in the highlands.
Population: Bidayuh (Christians)
Stories read : The hungry snake, Whose bicycle is this?, Walrus, Walrus, Where are you?, Where is my Hat? The Blue Frogs and The Red Frogs.
Activities: Handcraft (snake), Origami (hat), 1 dance and 1 game, 20 minutes quiet & reading time, My Diary session.
We had our Reading program in the afternoon. In the evening, during our dialogue with the parents, I gave a speech in BM. But this is the gist of it:
Increasing accessibility by building and repairing of basic roads and jeep tracks for the rural and marginalised communities.
We met our students' parents last night. The team spoke about the importance of education. We also spoke briefly about the 7 orang asli children in Kelantan who went missing for weeks before 2 were found & from them, we learned that the rest have perished. According to news reports, the orang asli children were afraid of being reprimanded by their teachers. Further reports also claimed that the orang asli children were abused in their school.
Schools are supposed to be a safe environment where our children learn & grow into confident capable people. But sadly, this isn't our reality. And this is why we are here. This is what Impian is doing; filling up gaps as & when we can because our system have failed us.
Of course, many parents would ask, "Your education camp is just 3 days. What can my child learn in just 3 days?" On our drive up to Kpg Simuti yesterday morning, I too, had similar doubts. Our reading program is usually a 2-day program but because the children were all in boarding school & had sports day the day before, the team had to adjust & shorten our program. I asked myself, "What can we achieve with the kids in just 3 hours? Will we make any difference at all?"
But as we waved goodbye to the children later in the afternoon, I knew in my heart that the team has succeeded. One by one, the children came to us & asked if they can borrow books from us. We brought in two boxes of books but we had not planned for a mobile library for this trip. But their eagerness had won us over.
After reading them 5 English stories, we also asked which one was their favourite and if anyone of them would like to volunteer & read on stage. A 12-year old Valerie did. She read The Blue Frogs and The Red Frogs. Then, a 6-year old boy followed suit. With our help on stage, he told the story of The Hungry Snake in Bahasa Malaysia.
We also asked the kids to reflect & pen down their thoughts. [And I read each & every one of their diaries before my meeting with you this evening so I can tell you what they have written.] These are some of their messages: "Saya mahu belajar bersungguh-sungguh." "Saya suka aktiviti hari ini kerana biasa tidak ada di sekolah." "Saya suka cikgu. Saya rindu cikgu."
Our children have spoken. They are eager to learn. They LOVE learning & they now know learning can be fun. Do we continue to deny them their fundamental rights to clean water, healthcare & education because of our own "adult issues & political/religious differences"? Or do we do what's right by them? Will you join us and bring change this December?