Thursday, November 6

#inspireKATIBAS: Big Hearts Taking Action In Rural Sarawak

#inspireKATIBAS 2014
In August this year, a group of young professionals led by Teach For Malaysia's Sarah Lasung came to my school to run a week-long programme.
The amazing thing about them is they were volunteers who came completely at their own expense for an opportunity to make a difference deep in jungles of Borneo.

Other similar programmes are Aram Katibas! this year as well as Program Jalinan KasihmissionKatibas & Jalinan Kasih Antarabangsa from last year. All unique & powerfully moving in the lives of my rural school students.

Why this programme?
My students do not have much in terms of role models & ambitions. Most want to join the civil service as policemen or soldiers. Some want to be teachers. Very few aspire to be professionals or businessmen. Eventually, too many of them end up doing odd jobs & living in slum like conditions.

This needs to change. There is so much out there that they can do & many of the best jobs today never existed 5 years ago.
I want my students to have the opportunity to be exposed to & explore new possibilities.
This was the challenge I extended to this enthusiastic & brilliant team of people from various educational/professional backgrounds.

This is what they did...
Sessions with the Form 3:
Life Story Sharing / Life Skill Games / Self-Discovery Survey / Multiple Intelligence Stations
Sessions with the Form 5:
Life Story Sharing / Life Skills Games / Life Plan / Graduation Visualisation
Night Tuition Classes for the Form 5
Teaching Assistants for Volunteer Teachers
Q&A Session for the Entire Student Population
Treasure Hunt run by Senior Prefects for Representatives of Each Class

Besides providing food & lodging, this is what we did for them...
Welcoming Ceremony: A Cultural Experience
Jungle Trekking: A Jungle Adventure

What was the impact on the students? Did the programme meet its objectives?
This journal entry was written by a Form 3 student from the weakest class who struggles to pass her English paper.
This is a powerful testimony to the effectiveness of this programme in motivating & inspiring my students.
Besides having students talk to me excitedly about what they have done during the programme, the journal entry above & many others like it have cleared any of my doubts that this programme & others like it have touched the hearts of my students & inspired them to think bigger.
Now, it's up to me & my colleagues to follow up on the work of the volunteers.

I could have run the same sessions for my students with my excellent team of colleagues at school. Actually, I have been sharing the same message for years.
But, having outsiders who are doing exciting & inspiring things in their lives say the same thing allows the seeds of possibility to grow roots in the young impressionable minds of my rural school children.
The wow effect is a powerful one which we should all put to good use.

Every school has a niche. Use it to draw like-minded big-hearted people to your school for collaborations. You'll be surprised how much you can do with very little cost.

Thank you, SarahVictoriaMelissaNicoleElaineAizat & WaiPeng as well as to my colleagues (the unsung heroes) at school who made this programme possible!

Check out all the pictures here.

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