Last weekend we launched Project Fireflies at Angsana flats in USJ 1. This program is designed to assist the poor children there by giving them FREE assistance in learning English and Maths. Currently there are 12 volunteers comprising of young working adults who are sacrificing their weekends to teach these children.
Target Group: Primary school children who are from underprivileged homes at Angsana and who are underachievers in school (The Jawatankuasa Penduduk there will assist in identifying these children).
First Intake: 10 January to 28 March 2009.
Sessions: Session 1 from 9.00 am to 11.00 am and Session 2 from 11.30am to 1.30pm.
Objectives: A 3-month programme to help students communicate functionally in English & to build their confidence. Our targets are speaking, counting, writing & reading.
Teachers: Our ratio is 1 teacher to 3-4 students and 10 students per session only.
Future Goals: To have back-to-back sessions on the weekends, to recruit sufficient volunteers to run a Homework Centre through the week to provide ongoing support for the children who “graduate” from Project Fireflies and to run a Secondary school edition.
Why "Fireflies"? A firefly is a common beetle found in rotting wood or forest litter with an ability to provide an illuminating light at night. What they believe is that the children from these low-cost neighbourhoods and underprivileged homes have an ability like the firefly to glow despite their circumstances and they want to help bring out that confidence and spark. They emphasize small classes so children have more attention and individualized teaching to meet each child’s ability and needs. This is a completely voluntary-based programme. It started as an initiative by Jochebed Isaacs to make a difference in teaching children who are underachievers. Previous work: 2 pilot studies for 4 weeks with 10 children in Tsun Jin School (together with the Kiwanis society) and 4 weeks with 5 children in SRJK (T) Segambut and Masters research at SJK (T) St. Joseph with 10 students for 10 weeks.
Initially we wanted to use the public hall at Angsana for this project but this hall has now become Dewan Umno. The volunteers have no other choice but to rent a unit in Angsana at RM500 a month. Volunteers have taken time to transform the unit by painting the walls beautifully, to make it more conducive for the children. I have taken RM10,000 from my annual allocation to kick start this project. I believe in education (my parents have invested much into my life when I was very young by buying lots of story books for me to inculcate the love for words, language and reading).
Very recently, I attended a Forum Pembasmian Kemiskinan organised by the Selangor State Government and one of the panel speakers spoke about a need for a study centre and free tuition at low cost homes to eradicate poverty. Usually in low cost homes, the units are very small and if one child is watching TV, other children in that unit will not be able to study and concentrate. As such, similar projects have been launched at Desa Mentari and Taman Medan.
Together with Roslan Shahir (MPSJ councillor for USJ 1) and members of Joint Management Body (JMB) of Angsana
I must thank the coordinator of this project Jochebed Isaacs and her team of volunteers for putting in time and effort to help these children. Jochebed can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. One of these children could potentially be the future Prime Minister of Malaysia. These children are of different races, I pray that this project would unite the families living there and eventually change a generation by leading them out of poverty.