KUCHING: Students from Curtin University, Australia, on a two-week community engagement programme in the state, visited the Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society (SCCS) to give a total makeover to the organisations’ children’s playroom.
The visit was part of the students’ effort to show support to the society’s cause in helping children undergoing cancer treatment.
The students are part of the Global Design Studio (GDS) programme, an active community-network comprising students, graduates and interdisciplinary academic creatives from Curtin University’s School of Built Environment (SoBE) in Bentley, Western Australia.
Led by Fellow of Curtin Academy and GDS co-founder Assoc Prof Khoa Do, the programme seeks to enhance students’ learning experiences through international community collaboration.
“Our GDS team visits the SCCS centre to ‘re-imagine’ the existing playroom to create a wonderland, which includes different activity zones for music, arts and crafts, mini library, playground and a toddler’s corner.
“We hope the children will be excited when they see the place for the first time,” he told StarMetro during their programme at SCCS centre here.
The GDS programme in Sarawak is being held in three phases this year.
The first phase, which took place on Feb 18 in Miri, had focused on five key local themes relating to community narratives and Sarawak’s potential future.
The group arrived on April 9 for the second phase involving 24 students and industry experts, project facilitator and academic staff.
This learning beyond the classroom project involves a 14-day road trip travelling along the coast of Sarawak with key community engagements, space activation activities and social interactions.
“This programme is about expressing creativity, after all architecture is about engaging with people. We want students to experience Malaysia and its community, allowing them to give back to the people,” said Prof Khoa, who is attached to the university’s Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture.
The group visited six schools across the state including SMK St Columba, Miri and Kai Dee Middle School in Bintulu.
They also participated in urban cinema and sketching activities at Parkcity Mall, Bintulu, as well as fabric painting, bandana making and sharing of knowledge and experiences with the locals at Sibujaya Market.
In Kuching, the group collaborated with local artists to design and paint a mural at SMK Kuching High.
Prof Khoa also discussed with school principal Tan Kiang Tuang to create a spatial library.
The visit here included urban sketches with the community, student engagement activites at Perkata Special School and SJK Chung Hua Sungai Buda, where the group set up a mobile library and created mural art.
“Some of our school programmes involved time capsule activity, students wrote their aspiration in origami butterflies which would be kept in a glass frame for the next five years.
“Another activity involved giving disposable cameras to students, where they would go around the school compound taking pictures and make collage of their favourite learning activities.
Students also participated in paper plane making, where the challenge was to design a plane with the best flight,” Prof Khoa said.
He added that the programme was to show students the importance of engaging with the people and finding out how they could use their knowledge and qualification to make a difference in the world.