Lathangie and Tharuni complete their assignment with the Myanmar Refugees

Building Bridges Beyond Borders (Malaysia), Volunteers' Stories 30 Dec 2018

Lathangie and Tharuni, who have been friends from childhood, came to KL together after finishing their degrees in the UK to spend three months working with the Myanmar refugees……..

Teaching at MRCLC was definitely an experience that will never be forgotten. On our first day of school, we were pleasantly surprised as the children all welcomed us eagerly and were happy to see new faces. They knew that we were unfamiliar with the school, so they decided that it was their duty to take care of us. For example, they did not hesitate to show us around the school and to take us to the canteen.

We mostly taught two classes – Class D and Class C. There were 4 children in class D and 7 in class C. There was also an opportunity to teach the younger set of children twice of week (11 children in total). We were teaching 3 different subjects each: Lathangie was teaching English writing, history and biology and Tharuni was teaching Maths, English reading and Geography. The children were very keen to learn new topics and thus teaching them was fun. Coming up with games and activities was not difficult as the children were always eager to contribute. Their creativity never ceased to surprise us, and their sense of humour will never be forgotten. We would say that the most challenging thing was to keep our seriousness in the classroom! Planning lessons whilst taking into consideration any difficulties that one child might face was challenging too, but it taught us important skills.

Lathangie teaching Class C.

Tharuni teaching Class D.

Working for MRCLC was not only about teaching the children but also about learning from them. We were so touched by their kindness and their willingness to make us feel welcome. Watching them sing, dance and play the guitar was truly a blessing because the children are extremely talented, and they are very modest about it. (MRCLC children once won a talent show!)

Some of the drawings by the students.

Even though they were going through a rough time, the children always made sure that we were happy and at ease. For instance, they would always offer us cakes and biscuits. One child once brought us mangos and another one made us bracelets!

Mangos covered with salt and chilli flakes, a very popular snack amongst the children.

Aside from teaching, during our stay in Malaysia we were able to meet some wonderful people. Notably, the Headteacher Fam, Miza, Uncle James and Dr.Saradha made us feel welcome from the first day. They were always there to answer any questions we had. We felt very lucky to have met these wonderful people and felt inspired by their fight to improve the lives of refugees in Malaysia. We were fortunate enough to have enjoyed many dinners with them and we hope to stay in touch with them.

In Malaysia, we also participated in Church gatherings. This was a time in which we were able to connect with the wider Myanmar community and to enjoy many delicious Myanmar dishes with them. Although there were language barriers, members of the community made us feel welcome at all times and were happy to have us participate in gatherings.

Our first Church gathering.

A Myanmar dish: Fish Noodles. The Children were always very helpful in telling us what the food is and sometimes even showed us how to eat it!

Lunchtime meal. We really enjoyed Myanmar food during our stay and were lucky enough to be able to taste a variety of dishes.

We are very fortunate to have been on this wonderful journey. Our stay in Malaysia, especially the children and all the other people we met are unforgettable. We hope that in the near future, we will be able to go back to Malaysia and visit everyone.

School party on the last day of school.

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Building Bridges Beyond Borders (BBBB)

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