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Monday June 20, 2011

Every bit counts

A group of volunteers is making a big difference in the lives of refugee children.

IT IS quite natural to take for granted the things we come by easily. A book. A uniform. A school.

To some, however, such seemingly basic provisions are things to be immensely thankful for; to them, being able to attend a school and acquire education is an opportunity not to be taken lightly. And at the volunteer-run learning centres for Kachin refugees from Myanmar, it is an opportunity they are fiercely determined to give every child that walks through their doors.

Transfer of knowledge: A volunteer teaching English words to pre-schoolers at the learning centre for Kachin refugees from Myanmar. The kids’ enthusiasm for studying in turn motivates the teachers there. – Faihan Ghani/The Star

The “schools” are far from the ideal set-up. At the New Generation learning centre, pre-schoolers and computer classes are housed in a rather cramped shoplot in a Kuala Lumpur alley. Lessons are punctuated by noise from the machinery at a nearby construction site, and once a day the air is seasoned by the stench from a rubbish truck that passes right outside. The primary and secondary students have it a little better, as a nearby church has generously offered its premises for their lessons.

Yet, the less-than-stellar exteriors belie the spirit found within its walls.

*Full story in the Star today.