World Vision staff and the community children bond over some fun activities (this photo was taken before the pandemic).
The adage “It takes a village to raise a child” rings more true today. Raising a child is no easy feat, couple that with the challenges of the pandemic, raising a child on one’s own seems like an insurmountable task.
Today we’d like to introduce you to two groups of people under our Community Development Programmes in Sabah who despite the challenges of the pandemic, have remained committed to the adage and are creating safe environments where their children can feel protected, supported and loved.
Starter Groups are groups of community members who are passionate about improving child well-being. They volunteer their time to help us keep an eye on their neighbourhood, and work alongside us in organising and mobilising the community to participate in community-wide activities.
Owing to movement restrictions, face-to-face meetings between World Vision staff and Starter Groups have to be conducted online via WhatsApp calls. Unfortunately, these meetings don’t always go according to plan due to the bad weather and resulting poor Internet connectivity. What could have been a 15 minutes discussion usually turns into an hour long.
However, the Starter Groups don’t give up. They go out of their way, walking long distances and hiking up hills just to find a “sweet spot” for better connectivity.
As part of our Programme, we organise Children’s Clubs with community members turned volunteers (who are trained as Facilitators) to spark children’s interest in learning and allow them to develop life skills such as communication skills.
Since the pandemic, most lessons are conducted at home with help from the parents but this has not stopped our facilitators from performing their role. They continue to plan the lessons and would walk from one house to another just to pass the children their learning packs. Thanks to their consistent commitment in keeping children academically engaged and stimulated, many of the children are still learning at home.
As part of a lesson about the environment, children learned to make planters from plastic bottles.
In the past one and a half years, Malaysians have braved through the pandemic together as one nation – regardless of race, religion, ethnicity and culture – to help one another. As we celebrate Malaysia Day on 16 September, let’s continue to unite in spirit and join the kampung in raising the next generation.
*Kampung means village in Bahasa Melayu
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In 2021, 85.9% of donations collected were used for programmes that benefit children, families and communities in need.