After a lapse of nearly 10 years, EWRF (Educational, Welfare and Research Foundation) Ipoh Branch successfully conducted the Total Empowerment Camp for a group of post-UPSR students at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Tamil) Kerajaan, Jalan Sungai Pari, Buntong, Ipoh recently. The objective of the Camp was to improve the level of English among Tamil school students as well as to instil confidence among these students as they make the transition to the secondary schools.
Under the able supervision of the Camp Co-ordinator Mr Jeyasudan and the Camp Commander Mr Roobenthiran, the team of two teachers and four wardens completely took charge of the camp and ran it like a well-oiled machine even though they were novices at the game. Starting with 50 students, there were 48 who eventually completed the 3-week stint, the remaining two dropping out for want of will or due to ill health.
The camp was inaugurated in a very traditional opening ceremony on the morning of November 20 by Tokoh Guru Dato’ Seri N.S. Selvamany witnessed by the parents, participants, the branch committee led by Dato’ Dr R. Gunasagran and the press.
Over the next 21 days, various modules were conducted mainly in English by the teachers and the wardens with interactive sessions, thought provoking videos, role play, games and even song and dance sessions. Besides the educational activities the students also actively prepared for a variety show which was enacted on the final day.
Motivational talks to the students were given by a select group of speakers which included a social worker, a specialist surgeon, an entrepreneur, a police officer and a skills trainer. The educational and activity modules covered a variety of academic topics and social issues and touched on such areas as Attitude, Reality, Sexuality, Reproductive
Health and Life Experiences. Stimulating discussions were the order of the day and throughout the camp, teamwork and confidence building were the main themes.
The closing ceremony was far different to the opening day’s apprehension. This ceremony was officiated by Mr Jeyakumar, the Supervisor of Tamil Schools, Hilir Perak representing the State Education Department. The Deputy President of EWRF Central Committee Ms V. Kalaiyarasi also graced the occasion. The closing ceremony presented a golden opportunity for the ‘empowered” students to display their skills, talents and new found confidence. Gone was the shyness and timidity as every one of them revealed the true meaning of esprit de corps. They were one unit in thought, word and action as they went through various song and dance sequences. An extra special touch to the occasion was given by the poem “Mother” rendered by one student. The poem dwelt on the significant role and love of a mother.
Many a truth was exposed by the camp but the very clear message to take home was: “Education is the bridge to improvement of the individual and the community at large. Through the right attitude and proper application of knowledge one can achieve his / her objectives in the short or long term.”
When the camp concluded, there were scenes of joy as the students had a new found sense of confidence and achievement but there were also so many of them who felt sad that the camp was over. Sad because it was time to part with their new found friends with whom they had shared so many hours exploring new avenues opened up to them in such a pleasing manner.
EWRF Ipoh hopes to keep a tab on this batch of students as they go through their secondary school education through a mentor system involving the committee members and volunteers.
The organising committee of EWRF Ipoh expressed their sincerest thanks and appreciation to EWRF HQ and the many sponsors and well-wishers, as well as the speakers for their financial and moral support. They hope to organise a similar event for Year 2012.