Of Children, Worms and Compost

A team comprising of former students and current lecturers of National Institute of Education (NIE) Singapore, together with a supporting team from Ipoh, organised a hands-on vermicomposting workshop for the children of Anning Children’s Home.

Vermicomposting is defined as the use of earthworms to convert organic waste into fertiliser. The vermicompost is nicknamed as black gold or brown gold. It could reduce municipal solid waste, landfill and emission of greenhouse gases as it redirects a significant portion away from landfills. Plants grown with the compost as fertiliser would taste better and have better resistance towards diseases.

“Ong Su-ming who led the Ipoh team invited us to be here. I discovered that the kids have a lot of potential. On vermicomposting, they may not use it immediately, but at least we have planted the seed,” Dr Wong Ka Lun, an Assistant Professor of NIE told Ipoh Echo. Together with Associate Professor Dr Tan Swee Ngin, they have been doing research on vermicomposting for the past five years.“This is our first visit to the home and our first time organising such a workshop to give back to the society,” Dr Tan added.

“Here we are doing it on a small scale with the help of NIE. It is very popular in the schools in the States,” said Su-ming.

They demonstrated to the responsive kids the way to start a vermicompost by layering newspaper shreds, garden soil, used cardboard boxes, earthworms and food waste such as egg shells, pumpkin skin, watermelon rinds, cabbage and coffee grind in a box. During the fun-filled activity, many eager hands shot up and the facilitators satisfied the curious young minds in the most affectionate manner.

Seven-year-old Aw Chai Yee was initially afraid of the worms but she had this to say at the end of the educational session: “It’s so much fun and I like the big brothers and sisters from Singapore.”

Anning Children’s Home is a welfare home established in 2008 to provide shelter, food and education for under-privileged children. It currently houses 39 children ranging from 3 to 17 years of age. Readers who wish to donate to the home kindly contact 05 311 4640 or visit the home located at Ampang Baru New Village, Ipoh.

Mei Kuan

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