Underprivileged students attend five-day motivational camp

Projek Kalsom: 19 participants have a tearful moment when it was time to say goodbye to each other.

Projek Kalsom: 19 participants have a tearful moment when it was time to say goodbye to each other.

KUANTAN: It was only a five-day motivational camp but the students from less fortunate backgrounds who took part in Projek Kalsom 19 walked away feeling ready to tackle any obstacles to achieve their dreams.

Student Muhammad Abdullah Ahmad, 16, said he was initially not confident when selected to join the camp but had come out feeling like a hero.

“I feel really empowered to achieve my dreams now. I promise myself that I can do it and I will never go back on my words,” he said at the closing ceremony of the camp here recently.

According to project director Farid Al Azim, 22, Projek Kalsom was initiated in 1993 when a group of Malaysian students in the United Kingdom collected funds to help single mother Kelthom Abdullah put her children through school.

“However, they felt this was not enough so the next year they started the first Projek Kalsom camp in Jerantut, Pahang, to inspire and motivate less fortunate schoolchildren to achieve higher goals in life.

“After touring most of Malaysia, the student-led project has finally returned to Pahang where it started,” said Farid, who is a Bristol University law student.

He added that Form Four students were targeted as it was a transitional period for them.

“For this edition, we have 110 students from nine schools. After this camp, we intend to follow up on the participants’ progress until their SPM exam,” said Farid.

He said the camp’s modules were based on exposure to tertiary education, usage of English among students from rural areas and academic and non-academic skills.

Another participant Hajar Nur Asyiqin, 16, said she had learnt how to be tolerant of other people.

“It is an amazing experience. I feel like I am more prepared for my future. We were taught that everyone is the same but at the same time we can be anyone we want to be.

“I will apply tolerance and put aside any selfish feeling when dealing with people in my life after this,” she said.

Emotions ran high when it was time for the participants to say goodbye to their facilitators and new found friends.

They read William Ernest Henley’s Invictus together before parting ways, vowing to take command of their lives.

“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul,” the students chanted.