TEMERLOH: A group of special children from seven Community-Based Rehabilitation (PDK) centres in Gombak District got up close and personal with animals including deer and elephants, at the Deerland Park and National Elephant Conservation Centre, Kuala Gandah, Pahang.
The programme is part of Da Ma Cai’s Staff in the Community Project, a corporate social responsibility initiative that encourages volunteerism amongst its employees and giving back to society.
The 120 special children together with their teachers were from PDK Selayang, PDK Batu Arang, PDK Taman Seri Gombak, PDK Sri Kundang, PDK Rawang, PDK Kamii Gombak Setia and PDK Hulu Kelang had a time of laughter and merriment while they learned about species of fauna in the programme together with eight Da Ma Cai staff volunteers recently.
The day started at 10.30am where the students and volunteers gathered at Deerland Park. Beginning with a guided tour, the students were introduced to the wonders of the amazing and exotic animals including pythons, rabbits, birds and hedgehog.
This was followed by a fun experience for the students as they get acquainted with the deer during their feeding time. They also enjoyed the photo session with the friendly animal.
The students later gathered for lunch. Right after the lunch, the group adjourned to the National Elephant Conservation Centre.
The young students were taught and encouraged by their teachers to hand feed the elephants with food provided such as sugar cane, papaya and peanuts.
Though it was a hot day, the students also watched the elephants bathing by the specially trained mahouts.
Each of the elephants was then introduced to spectators on their background and ability.
The mahout shouted out simple instructions to the elephants where they performed some simple yet funny acts to keep the crowd entertained.
“This is one of the unique opportunities for close-up views of some of the wildlife species; it definitely helps the students in learning through observation and interaction. Staying close to nature has also brought so much joy to the special children,” said Mohd Yusof, the supervisor from PDK Selayang.
It was indeed a rewarding experience for the students interacting with these animals and learned more about them in their natural habitat.
Da Ma Cai volunteers also learnt from this day trip as they were humbled by the experience, touched by the determination displayed by the students despite the hurdles they faced.