Building Bridges: Education for Change

Volunteers with the children living at the centre.

SEMENYIH: Building Bridges, an initiative by the Society of Education & Humanities to educate and inspire underprivileged children, took place on the 10th of December 2016. The society’s aim was to conduct an educational, but fun programme for the children at the Shepherd’s Foundation Centre.

The society which came formed under the Student Association this academic year, commenced their year in tune with the season of giving back. However, it was decided to give back in the manner of time, knowledge and company as opposed to duplicating the actions of giving money, items or clothes.

The centre which is a home to children until the age of 17 years, could be considered a blessing in the town of Semenyih. Founded by Pastor Jacob and his wife, donations solely drive the foundation. The orphans in this home include those without parents, as well as, those who have been physically and sexually abused. Despite their past conditions, the foundation aims at rehabilitating these children towards a brighter future. The Society therefore was welcomed with open arms to the Centre. The programme was conducted in the centre’s library which is a learning space made possible because of the aid of furniture and books donated.

Volunteers with the children living at the centre.

Volunteers with the children living at the centre.

The children who were a part of the Building Bridges programme ranged from the ages 4- 12 years. The programme being educational was slightly challenging to the younger students, but it was not felt by them as games were incorporated into their learning process.

Of the activities conducted, the students enjoyed the “Vocabulary Building Hangman”. This activity took on the conventional game of hangman but with a twist. The students were made into two groups and then invited to draw out a noun, verb or adjective, the student then was required to give a clue and play the game on until the word was guessed. Later the scoring of a point was granted only after a sentence was made with the word learnt.

The children of the centre having fun during one of the games.

The children of the centre having fun during one of the games.

The other game was a Careers Game, the purpose of this game was to break the gender stereotypes surrounding occupations. The game was also created with the intention of allowing children to dream big. After other similar educational activities, the programme was concluded with a light game of guessing, in which the children as well as the volunteers of the programme enjoyed being a part of.

Some of the clues in one of the games that was carried out.

Some of the clues in one of the games that was carried out.

Overall, the time invested among the orphans seemed valuable as they are eager for company and contact with individuals from outside the centre. Further, their thirst for knowledge made the task of conducting the programme an encouraging mission and a productive day for both parties. It was realised by the volunteers upon reflecting on the day’s events that despite on a mission to inspire, this exposure and opportunity inspired them as well.

 

Article and photographs by Amashi Marisa de Mel

I have two sides; one which is overly-passionate and far too inclined to start debates, and the other that just wants to curl up with a book forever. Writing is and will always be my true love.

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