Freelance writer on birthday mission

  • Metro News
  • Monday, 07 Oct 2019

Fan teaching Chin refugee students at Zophei learning centre in Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur.

Marketing professional turned freelance writer Fan Eemei is conducting a fundraising campaign for a learning centre for refugee children in conjunction with her birthday.

She is a volunteer at Zophei learning centre in Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, a community-run centre for Myanmar refugee children from the minority Chin ethnic group.

The learning centre was set up by the Chin refugee community themselves. It has 62 students from pre-school to secondary education.

Fan said she got involved in volunteer work because she wanted to transform lives.

“Since it is a community-run learning centre, it has limited resources.

“I volunteer because I have been immensely blessed and I want a chance for others to experience the same. But ultimately I want to make a difference, especially in the lives of the less fortunate.

“I also hope that through my actions, they will be inspired to pay it forward, ” she said.

Fan turns 40 next month.

“I love celebrating birthdays. Unfortunately, the reality is that it is a privilege denied to many.

“I’m celebrating a milestone birthday and I want to commemorate it with a meaningful celebration, one that involves giving as opposed to receiving, ” she explained.

The goal of her campaign is to raise US$1,500 (about RM6,280 at current exchange rate) to improve and enhance learning for the refugee children at Zophei learning centre.

She said she was inspired by her students at the learning centre to run the fundraising campaign.

“My students aged eight to 10 are an enthusiastic bunch.

“I try to make learning fun and interactive, often using food and classroom activities but the learning centre is severely lacking in resources and this affects the quality of education for them.

“The centre is spartan, it has the bare minimum number of desks and chairs and lacks space for sports, art and other extra-curricular activities, ” she said.

“I think everyone deserves a chance to succeed in life, particularly the marginalised, poor and less privileged.

“And truthfully, the only way out of poverty or hardship is through education, ” she opined.

According to Fan, some of these refugee children stay in cramped living conditions that can negatively affect their education.

“Many of these children are malnourished.

“A conducive learning environment will keep them interested, and curb the menace of social vices, ” she said.

Fan started volunteering as a university student, including all across Europe, and in local orphanages and old folk’s homes.

When asked about her plans for the money she hoped to raise in her campaign, she said, “For a start, I want to organise an outing for these refugee children in conjunction with Children’s Day celebrated globally on Nov 20.

“The balance will be used to buy educational resources and food for the students. Hopefully there will be some money left to fund other outings and classroom activities.”

As of Oct 4,33% of the funds have been raised since the fundraising campaign started on Sept 5.

Fan is conducting this fundraising campaign all on her own.

“I have been promoting this campaign through family and friends as well as via social media, including YouTube videos, to share my experience as a volunteer.

“I have also reached out to refugee advocates around the world to garner their support.“ she said.

She hoped people would pitch in to help the refugees.

“I think it is a fundamental humanitarian responsibility to help refugees.

“Everyone deserves the right and a fair chance to acquire a better life.”

Fan noted that people could also help the refugees through financial support and in-kind contributions to the learning centre such as computers, books, games, stationery and food or through monthly outing sponsorships for the refugee students.

The fundraising campaign for Zophei learning centre ends on Nov 10.

To donate, visit

For updates on the campaign, visit

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