Tag Archives: Soroptomist International Ipoh

Soroptimist International Ipoh

Fun, Fun, Fun, Edufun Party

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Music was blaring full blast and a huge scrumptious cake waited in the wings to be cut. Judging by the elated looks on the faces of the kids as they ‘hip hopped’ and gyrated in a performance to impress the few adults present, they were having a whale of a time showing off their talents; to the extent that they did not want to leave the dance floor even for food. The fact that they were all having such a great time, the average passerby at these low-cost flats in Buntong would think it was a fancy birthday party.

Soroptimist International Ipoh

In fact, what was happening was the Edufun party for underprivileged kids from broken and problematic homes. Organised and funded by Soroptimist International Ipoh (SII), the occasion was to provide an avenue to take these children away from the stresses of their mundane routine and stressful home environment and give them an opportunity to have fun.

This they had in megadoses, with games led by Louis Sebastian, followed by lunch and  culminating in the cutting of one of the biggest cakes the kids had ever seen and tucking into food that were some of the biggest treats in their young lives. Most of them, for example, had never seen a strawberry, let alone taste one which they did on the day of the party.

Soroptimist International IpohGuests comprising Mr Raj Kumar from Damacai, Dr Shan (paediatrician from Fatimah Hospital), Dr Sharifah Halimah (President of Perak Women for Women Society) and social worker Mrs M Jeyakumar joined in the fun; aided and abetted by committee members which included past presidents Khoo Kuan Hwa, Jeyamalar Jeyaratnam and current President Lanka Devi.

SII set up the Edufun Centre last year to help change the lives of young disadvantaged children who either do not have opportunities for education and/or come from broken families. They identified an area in Buntong, Ipoh made up of a few blocks of old low-cost flats which SII committee members noticed had many young children of school-going age roaming about when they should have been at school. They subsequently discovered that  many of these children’s  parents were themselves illiterate and could not afford the school fees, cost of books, etc. or saw it more important that their children helped out with work at home. Many of them looked malnourished and withdrawn.

From an initial daily attendance of 4-5 children, presently about 20 children are attending regularly on a daily basis, where a full time teacher, Madam Salome teaches them the three Rs and gives them their daily tea which though modest, consisting of Milo, biscuits and an egg, is eagerly anticipated by the children as some of them are malnourished.

Soroptimist International IpohAs an example, Kamala (not her real name), a 9-year-old girl whose father is unknown and mother suffers from mental illness, has shown progress in her studies and outlook since coming to the Centre. Her eldest sister, who works in a carwash, supports the family and Kamala at her tender age has to perform the household chores including cooking for the family. Initially her mother had been unhappy with her attending the Centre but Kamala has worked doubly hard to complete her household chores to be able to attend the Centre by 2pm, and as she has expressed, because she “wants to learn how to read and write more”.

President of SII Lanka Devi had this to say about Kamala, “I can’t help but feel that the Centre is like a safe haven to her where she can be a child and enjoy the other activities like puzzles, jigsaws and singing with other children.”

As such, the Edufun Centre is SII’s most important project to date. SII hopes that with better education and by providing a happy and safe environment to come under the right influence, the children will have an opportunity to change the situations that have put their families at a disadvantage since prior generations.

Soroptimist International Ipoh is one of 15 clubs in Malaysia while Soroptimist International is present in 124 countries and has 3000 clubs with over 86,000 members. It is a worldwide service organisation for women committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their individual and collective potential, realise aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong, peaceful communities worldwide.

SI Ipoh and the Edufun Centre welcome members of the public to contribute their time, services or monetary donations to ensure the success of this Centre.

For more information, contact:
Lanka 012-519 0189 or email: lanka_rk@yahoo.com
Jean 012-588 2313 or email: jean.chai@yahoo.com
Kuan 012-501 9250 or email: khoosbb@yahoo.com.

SFCK

Soroptimist Ipoh – EDUFUN Centre

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Soroptimist International Ipoh (SI Ipoh) has again launched another worthy project and service to the under-privileged community of Ipoh. Towards the end of 2012, SI Ipoh had the opening of its EDUFUN Learning Centre at the Bekor Flats in Taman Pertama, Buntong, Ipoh. There was an enthusiastic attendance of about 25 underprivileged children aged between 6 and 15.

Soroptimist Ipoh – EDUFUN CentreThe children, with their mothers, were warmly welcomed by the SI members of Ipoh with a sumptuous “high tea” and the children had a lot of fun joining in the games and singing and dancing sessions. The centre has since been open every day from Monday to Friday 2pm to 6pm. Most of these children are either non-school going, owing to various social and family problems, or are slow learners who certainly need help and guidance.

Despite the handicaps of coming from problematic families and low-income groups, these children show a keen interest in wanting to learn and better themselves. They are also very well behaved, polite, happy kids who love coming to the centre. One particular 10‑year-old girl told Ipoh Echo that she quickly finishes all her housework in the morning so that she can spend the whole afternoon at the centre doing her homework, playing educational games with other children, having singing and dancing sessions and afternoon tea of Milo and biscuits, which is a treat to them! This centre is also a healthy, happy, educational and fun outlet for them away from their problems at home.

The centre has currently employed a teacher to help out in the running of this programme. Every day, during the holidays the attendance was very encouraging with a minimum of 15 children or more who come to learn and play educational games. Now that school has started, the numbers have maintained, with more requests for acceptance of preschool kids. A slight improvement is already seen in some of these children in the short time of nurturing since its inception.

Volunteers who wish to help make a difference in the lives of these children and the community may contact:    Kuan 012-501 9250, Lanka 012-519 0189 or Jean 012‑588 2313.

OK Tak OK Counseling Workshop for Teachers

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Soroptomist International Ipoh and Perak Women for Women Society (PWW) were hosts to a group of 118 representative teachers from the district of Larut Matang and Selama for a one-day workshop called “OK TAK OK”. This workshop whose aim is to teach children what is and what is not acceptable behaviour from adults, had won an International Huright Osaka Award in 2005.

They enlisted the expertise of trained counsellors Dr. Prema Devaraj (Programme Director for WCC) and Ms. Tasha Merican (Project Officer WCC) to train and share their knowledge with the teachers from Malay, Chinese and Tamil schools on how to recognize the signs displayed by a sexually abused child and how to handle the situation without causing alarm to the child. This workshop was targeted at teachers because teachers are often the ones who are able to spot changes in their pupil’s behaviour.

Statistics show that 85% of sexually abused children knew their perpetrators and Perak has the fourth highest incidences of rape and incest in the country.

The programme which is conducted in a very sensitive and informative manner is designed for standard 5/6 pupils so the teachers were all asked to look at the video from the eyes of a 12 year old. The video was 28 minutes long and contained 4 short cartoons and 3 video scenarios involving the acceptable and not acceptable behaviour of adults towards children. Dr. Prema said that recognizing a child who is sexually abused is not as easy as it seems but from the video one is able to pick up clearly, especially from facial expressions, body language and general changes in behaviour, that something is amiss.

The only way to recognize this is through observation. These children often become quiet and withdrawn. Sometimes they even become disruptive.

If children are taught what is and what is not acceptable behaviour from this very easy education programme, we may be able to stop some of the sexual abuse suffered by these innocent children. Children should be encouraged to speak up and inform their peers, parents, friends etc. All too often the very people the kids trust are the ones who let them down.

Soropomist International Ipoh will be working closely with Perak Women for Women and will continue to monitor and follow up with the schools. The next project will be held in Kuala Kangsar.

Malika Ramiah