IN a rare opportunity, Malaysians will have the chance to catch the world premiere of Jackie Chan's latest movie – Around the World in 80 Days – in a charity premiere organised by Yayasan De La Salle next month.
Although the film's official release date is the same as that in the United States, Malaysia will be screening this remake of the Jules Verne classic a few hours ahead on June 16 in four theatres at the Golden Screen Cinemas in Mid Valley Megamall.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, a former St John's Institution student, will be the main patron of the event, sponsored by DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd.
Besides enjoying a fun-filled family movie, the public will also get to contribute towards a worthy cause as funds raised will help support La Sallian educational projects.
These projects, aimed at addressing today's challenges, have been introduced by the foundation in its bid to preserve the 150-year-old La Sallian education heritage in Malaysia.
“The foundation is involved in several fund-raising events to help the less favoured members of society,” says its administrator for finances, Brother Felix Donahue.
Since the foundation's establishment in 2001, he explains, besides the De La Salle Institute in Kuala Lumpur, money raised has been channelled to non-profit projects such as the La Salle Centre in Ipoh, La Salle Learning Centre in Penang, Kuching LaSallian Foundation and Asrama Butitin in Nabawan, Sabah.
The La Salle Centre provides a learning process for young people, teachers, administrators and community workers that is person-centred, integrated and holistic.
“One of its prime concerns is to respond to the human and spiritual needs of youth, with a particular focus on the disadvantaged, irrespective of race, religion or social background,” says Brother Felix.
Some of the centre's programmes, he adds, include training sessions that focus on revitalisation of existing schools, promoting education as a vocation, priority for children and youth with special needs, advocacy for justice and inter-religious spirituality.
In Penang, the La Salle Learning Centre caters to the learning needs of children at the St Joseph's Home, where they are taught to strengthen their study skills, essay writing, public speaking and creativity through play activities and educational games.
A different learning approach is given to the children and several programmes are run to nurture individual growth and eradicate or minimise learning insecurities.
Realising the uneven distribution of development in some parts of Sabah, the foundation has also set up Asrama Butitin.
“The least advanced areas at present are remote districts and areas of minority groups. The people of these areas face the possibility of being left even further behind in the future,” stresses Brother Felix.
A vital factor to overcoming this situation, he says, is education, and this is why the La Salle Brothers has opened the student hostel in remote Nabawan, a district where the people are mainly Muruts.
The Kuching LaSallian Foundation was launched in March 2002 to help rural students perform better in education, especially at primary level. This initiative has resulted in the setting up of tuition centres concentrating on Mathematics and English in many kampung in the area.
“We approach the village head and help set up the centres. We encourage and train the locals to be teachers and supervisors because eventually they have to make the project their own,” Brother Felix says, adding that three centres are in place to date.