Working at the refugee school has been the most rewarding experience for me. The community of Myanmar refugees we work with is very welcoming and it has been amazing getting to know them, their culture and their life in Myanmar and as refugees.
Because Malaysia is not a State Party to the UNHCR 1951 Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, it means that refugees are not allowed to enrol in Malaysian schools. The school where I have been working provides an education for these refugee children, who would not receive one otherwise. This is especially striking to me as some of the refugee families stay in Malaysia for 10 years, which means 10 years without an education for the children!
The teaching style at the school is very relaxed, we do try to follow a curriculum to make sure the children are taught all the basics but all the teachers still have a lot of freedom in choosing topics they want to focus on. The youngest kids are in kindergarten and the oldest are 16 years old, and we teach every level which is great to get to know everyone and to have a bit of diversity in our teaching.
School days start at 10:30 am and finish at 3:30pm, with no class on Friday afternoons. There are also many national holidays so you have plenty of time to explore Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur. Accommodation is provided for full time volunteers in the building next to the school, which is very convenient.
I definitely recommend volunteering here as it is very rewarding working with these children and feeling like we can improve their lives and their futures. The school is doing a vital job in trying to make the life of these children as normal as possible. The students are very keen to learn and love coming to school as it provides an escape from their difficult daily lives.
In front of the school, before going to the Spelling Bee Competition organised by the Soroptimists of Damansara.
Students proudly wearing their new uniforms.