Alexia is Volunteering with Refugees in Malaysia

Building Bridges Beyond Borders (Malaysia), Volunteers' Stories 2 Nov 2016



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.


MRCLC children before spelling bee

In front of the school, before going to the Spelling Bee Competition organised by the Soroptimists of Damansara.

mrclc new uniforms

Students proudly wearing their new uniforms.


mrclc two volunteersOut for a relaxing evening!

Madalena is finding online teaching much more interesting than she expected

Maddie talks about how she has been dealing with an internship done entirely online and working from home – when she would otherwise have expected to be in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia working with disadvantaged local children. The experience is challenging for everyone but the attitude of the kids has made it a […]

read more

Volunteering in Malaysia - not in Malaysia!

Charlotte is one of three interns working with our Building Bridges project in Malaysia for this academic year, providing mentoring sessions and fun English classes online – BBBB Online – for children at Rumah Aman, a Muslim children’s home in Kuala Lumpur. They work with small groups of children two or three times a week. […]

read more

Latest update from the Refugee School in Kuala Lumpur

On Wednesday 1st July the kindergarten and nursery classes began again at the school with a total of 15 children turning up. Some of the children did not come due to fear among the families, however we are pleased that no one in the community has caught the virus. Most families still do not have […]

read more

Update on Developments at the Refugee School in KL

Again, we would like to thank all those who have helped this community in their hour of particular need ! The community seem to be keeping in good spirits although the school management estimate that fewer than 15% of them have got their jobs back. Very understandably, the first jobs to open up are going […]

read more

Crisis for BBBB supported Myanmar Refugee Families

Over recent weeks former volunteers from the BBBB programme have responded with enormous generosity to the plight of the refugee community. We want to express our deepest thanks to all! In Malaysia, as in countries around the globe, there has been a government enforced lockdown over recent weeks in response to Covid-19. This has meant […]

read more

After returning home Eilish reflects on her time at BBBB in Kuala Lumpur

Eilish and Faye had to return to the UK a few days earlier than expected as the Corona Virus meant borders were closing across the world. Here Eilish reflects on the second half of their assignment and what the experience meant to her…… As I fell back into the routine of teaching I had to […]

read more

In Early March Faye Finished her Placement at the BBBB Programme

She thought it could be useful for new volunteers if she described the average day at the refugee school…….. A typical day teaching at the Myanmar Refugee School Every day of teaching is different and will come with its own set of challenges but also the moments of excitement. Here is an example of what […]

read more

Children from the Myanmar refugee school play marshmallow tower game

Eilish and Faye moved into the new volunteers’ apartment this week and invited the children over to celebrate…….. On Friday morning the [refugee school] children took part in some team-building activities. They worked in small groups to achieve building the tallest tower using only marshmallows and spaghetti. They had just 10 minutes to construct a […]

read more

Building Bridges Beyond Borders (BBBB)

A collaboration between Soroptimist International Damansara  and Just Volunteers! Sponsored by Yayasan Azman Hashim. MALAYSIA