Spreading kindness to special group

Eye-opening experience: The new series of ‘Kindness Workshops’ kicked off with students from the El Shaddai Refugee Learning Centre in Klang being taught Internet safety and the prevention of cyberbullying, overseen by (from left) Necia, Law and Ling. — SHAM KIEN KHEE/The Star

KLANG: The #StandTogether kindness campaign by R.AGE and SP Setia took another step forward with a new series of “Kindness Workshops” for students from marginalised and special-needs communities.

The first such workshop, organised by #StandTogether partners Digi and Study Hub Asia, was held at the El Shaddai Refugee Learning Centre here.

“One of the things we’ve always championed is reducing inequality. Most schools have a chance to come across capacity-building training, but we realised a lot of issues (like bullying) also happen in marginalised communities, ” said Digi head of Sustainability Philip Ling.

The workshops are a continuation of the #StandTogether Kindness Tour, which organised similar events for hundreds of schools across every state in the country, equipping students and teachers to be “Kindness Ambassadors”.

For the over 80 El Shaddai students and teachers who participated in the workshop on Thursday, it was an eye-opening experience.

“The most important thing I learnt today was about cyberbullying, ” said teacher Rajeswary Rajoo, previously a public school teacher for 35 years.

“In my years of teaching, I’ve encountered physical and verbal bullying but I didn’t know much about social media (bullying), ” she said, calling on fellow teachers to show kindness to their students, especially those with difficult backgrounds.

The tech-savvy students were also given lessons on how to safely navigate the Internet through interactive sessions facilitated by Digi staff.

“I had so much fun and I learnt that kindness is very important – we have to be careful about what we say, even online.

“I still talk to my friends in Myanmar and I will share what I learnt with them, so they will also be safe on the Internet, ” said Fayazul Islam, 16.

The four-school tour series will also allow Digi and Study Hub Asia to scrutinise their Kindness Tour material and make the necessary adjustments to help connect with the lesser-reached communities in Malaysia, said Study Hub Asia co-founder Brian Law.

“After these four sessions, we will create a bigger, better Kindness Tour in 2020 that will have more of an emphasis on schools in marginalised communities across Malaysia, ” he said.

“Children, whether they are deaf, blind or underprivileged, use the Internet as we do. They also need to learn to use it safely and responsibly.”

The Kindness Tour is an extension of the annual #StandTogether campaign initiated two years ago by R.AGE and SP Setia, along with partners such as Unicef Malaysia, Digi and 100% Project, with the aim of ending

bullying in schools through promoting kindness.

“It is really amazing to see children coming together and standing together in the workshops – they were respectful, close-knit and just having fun!” said Necia Abdullah, SP Setia Group Corporation Relations head.

“This is very much in line with SP Setia’s philosophy and objective of building a caring society. I look forward to visiting all the national schools (during Kindness Tour 2020).”

For more updates and educational resources from the #StandTogether campaign, go to standtogether.my.

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