Project Malaysia Kuala Selangor 2014
May 26 to June 8, 2014
In Malaysia, a large portion of high school students faces the intense pressure to do well in a heavily exam-oriented curriculum, which leaves them few opportunities for personal development. On the other end, many children from the local orphanage suffer from low self-esteem and feel a sense of alienation from their community. Project Malaysia 2014 (PM14) aims to connect the two groups across the perceived barriers and thus enhance their mutual understanding through hands-on service learning activities led by both the high school students and the college team members.
Through the experience of working together with the team, the children from the orphanage will emerge with greater self-esteem and a sense of connectedness with the community. For the high school students, the guided service-learning projects will be an opportunity to develop qualities that are often neglected in the classroom, such as self-understanding and sensitivity to people from different backgrounds. From that experience, we hope to inspire them to become agents of change in their communities. Lastly, we hope to further facilitate collaboration among the school, parents and local partners in order to provide a supportive environment for the holistic development of the students.
- Foster friendship among high school students and children from the local orphanage, thus helping each develop appreciation and sensitivity for people from different backgrounds.
- Enhance self-esteem of the children from the orphanage through positive peer interaction and involvement in activities that serve their community.
- Promote a holistic development for the students that includes planning skills, critical thinking, and personal reflection.
- Strengthen support from the school, parents and local partners to sustain positive peer interaction among the students and the children from the orphanages and promote other service initiatives.
We will recruit a team of 15 college students from around the world to carry out the project. Some of them will come from Malaysian local universities in order to bridge the cultural gaps, make local contacts and strengthen sustainability after the two weeks of the project.
Through engaging the students and children from the orphanage in service activities, we hope to initiate connections across perceived barriers between the two groups. The exposure to people from different backgrounds will strengthen the awareness of each individual’s unique personality and the understanding of the commonalities that we all share. Moreover, the shared experience of creating something together to contribute back to the community will enhance the self-esteem and the sense of connectedness to the community for everyone.
The leadership component will include a series of workshops, team-building activities, and discussions. The first goal of this component is to help build students’ confidence and self-awareness. Moreover, we hope to facilitate the students’ development of inter and intrapersonal skills, such as public speaking and active listening.
In addition, we will offer step-by-step guidance for students about planning a service-learning project. We hope to maximize their learning of this process through case study analysis of PM14 and the service activities we plan. At the end of the project, the students will have the opportunity to put these skills into practice by planning, executing and reflecting on their own small projects under our guidance. This will allow students to take more ownership of PM14 and what they will learn during the two weeks. We also want to focus on the process of critical self-evaluation about the impact they are making and the sensitivity to the needs of the beneficiaries. Ultimately, we want to inspire them with the spirit of “Can do – if not, seek for help”.
Throughout the project, we aim to have the parents and teachers joining some of our activities, especially the second weekend when the students share about their own experiences planning and carrying out service-learning activities. We hope the involvement of all the parties in this project will enhance the mutual understanding and help them focus on what really matters – namely the student’s holistic development. The local partners, teachers, and parents will play a crucial role in supporting the students’ sustained involvement with the community and interaction with the children from local orphanages. The university student team will continue to be part of this nurturing environment by maintaining contact with the students.
Team Member Responsibilities
- Fully participate throughout the project duration.
- Contribute to the team’s fundraising effort (it’s going to be exciting!)
- Involved in brainstorming planning, and executing activities, such as interactive activities with children from the orphanage, leadership workshops and contacting local partners.
- Serve as a mentor for high school students and children from the orphanage.
- Believe in and facilitate to bring the best out of each other, from the orphans to students and other team members.
We are seeking college students from all over the world with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences to join us. The following qualities are desirable to all team members:
- Passionate in our causes of inspiring youth through making positive interactions.
- Experience in mentoring youths and/or working with children from an orphanage is a plus.
- Open-mindedness and a degree of vulnerability to make connections and foster them.
- Willingness to take on responsibilities and initiative. Remember, enthusiasm is highly contagious!
- A critical mind to question if what we are doing is really making an impact.