Re­build­ing hope

A sec­ondary school gets a spe­cial makeover.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - BRATS - By CAR­LOS RUBEN DOURADO and TAN JEN LI Pho­tos by MELISSA ONG

ONE pas­sion­ate Teach For Malaysia (TFM) fel­low and a group of IACT Col­lege stu­dents was all it took to give the stu­dents of SMK Tengku Idris Shah, Ka­par, Se­lan­gor com­pletely re­fur­bished class­rooms – and a much more con­ducive learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

TFM fel­low Jas­mine Ong, who has ded­i­cated two years of her life to teach­ing at the school, spoke to IACT lec­turer Suhana Ab­dul Kadir about the poor con­di­tions some of her stu­dents were study­ing un­der.

Suhana then sug­gested that some of her stu­dents take up the chal­lenge to help the school for their projects on cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, and thank­fully, a group of them were more than happy to ac­cept it.

Stu­dent Lee Kah Yee said: “We re­ally felt it was a good way to give back to the com­mu­nity.”

Lee and a group of class­mates then set up a group called the Un­der Dogs, through which they or­gan­ised Project Re­build­ing Hope to take on the project of re­fur­bish­ing the class­rooms at SMK Tengku Idris Shah – and in­crease aware­ness about the con­di­tions of poverty-stricken schools in the Klang Val­ley.

Get­ting do­na­tions for the project was not easy. Lee said: “We came up with some­thing called the Pledge Card, for ev­ery­one in each class to raise RM700 to pur­chase ta­bles and chairs.

“We ap­proached our own rel­a­tives and friends, or­gan­ised food sales, class-to-class do­na­tions and a cam­paign called ‘Loose Change For Hope’.”

They even­tu­ally man­aged to raise more than RM20,000, along with spon­sor­ships from Ban Hing Paints (paint sup­plies), Jaya Se­tia Ven­ture (doors and locks), Aworld­tee En­gi­neer­ing (RM1,000 cash) and a cou­ple who only wished to be known as Mr and Mrs Bates, who spon­sored the project plaque.

Ong said she teaches Form Four English in five dif­fer­ent classes at the school, us­ing the “3A” model – ac­cess, af­fect and achieve­ment.

“Ac­cess means giv­ing the stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to reach for their goals and chart a life path. Af­fect means in­still­ing or re­in­forc­ing the val­ues needed to bring them there and ul­ti­mately ty­ing it all to­gether – help­ing them raise their achieve­ments via aca­demic im­pact,” said Ong in an in­ter­view with the BRATs.

“You must give back to your com­mu­nity – you can’t just take. And when you give back, chan­nel it to the right cause. I think it’s amaz­ing what these stu­dents are do­ing with Project Re­build­ing Hope; they’re giv­ing hope to the stu­dents in SMK Tengku Idris Shah to ac­tu­ally achieve their dreams,” she added.

On the first day of the re­fur­bish­ment, Novem­ber 7, a to­tal of 40 stu­dents and vol­un­teers gath­ered at 8am, all equipped with clean­ing uten­sils, hop­ing to give the stu­dents of SMK Tengku Idris Shah hope for a bet­ter fu­ture, by giv­ing them bet­ter class­rooms.

The team was di­vided into groups of 10, each fo­cus­ing on re­fur­bish­ing a class­room. They started by clean­ing out the rooms, be­fore dis­man­tling the grills and ap­ply­ing a white un­der­coat to all the walls.

Two days later, the team came back to­gether to fin­ish the paint jobs, re­place the win­dow panes, re­paint the grills, and move in the new ta­bles and chairs for the stu­dents.

“It was all about team­work. It was over­whelm­ing to see all the class­rooms look­ing as though the school was built not long ago. It was a great achieve­ment,” Lee con­cluded.

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