The My Village project enabled local and international students of private institutions of higher learning to engage the local community through volunteerism. The project was initiated by the Ministry of Education
and was funded by the Sekretariat HEP-IPTS (Hal-Ehwal Pelajar – Institut Pengajian Tinggi Swasta)
which is the body for the country’s private institutions of higher learning. The objectives of this three-day two-night project was to enable local and international students to volunteer in local communities regardless of culture, race or nationality; inculcate positive values in the students, as well as provide them a hands-on opportunity to learn about Malaysia.
Activities for this project include an ‘adopted family’ session where each pair of students was assigned to an ‘adopted family’ from a rural area. The students are expected to teach the children in the “adoptive family”, as well as the other children in the village through workshops on teaching English, mathematics and computers. Each participating university or college was able to send 10 students (local or international) to participate in this programme. Students from Taylor's College Sri Hartamas
went to Hulu Langat where 2-4 participants were “adopted” by a family.
Everyone was paired with students of universities and colleges other than their own to provide the opportunity for everyone to mix around and meet new people from different backgrounds. Each group had different homes; it was either the slightly modern, semi-detached or the authentic kampong board home.
On the following day the workshops began in earnest. Various interesting math games were played. The groups were given a set amount, says RM28.70 and they would have to run to the table with priced goods and select them wisely. This and other games went on another 2 hours. It was then time for the computer workshop. The faces of the children lit up when they had their very first Skype chat. They were also introduced to Google search and were taught on how to search effectively by playing games. Another workshop consisted of 16 activities for each type of learning (visual, auditory and kinesthetic), divided equally for each age group (below 11 and above 11). The very first activity was the puzzle of pictures (visual) where the children had to match each food to each state. The goal was to make them remember the special food for each state by remembering the flag. The teens had played a similar game but this time they had to remember the landmark, games and traditional dances special to each state. Once it had ended, an explanation about visual learners was given along with a crash course on mind mapping.
Next up were our auditory games, we played the classic game of ‘radiorosak’ (Chinese whispers), rhyming word games for the children and ‘Guess that animal!’ where the sounds of animals were played and the kids would have to guess correctly. The teens had the chance of playing blind man’s bluff and a game where the children had to draw according to the instructions given, which was followed by a thorough explanation on how auditory learners learn and how they can improve. Moving on to kinesthetic activities, children were taught poison ball, dancing, bookmark making and finger painting, charades, taboo and collage making for the teens. In the closing ceremony our ‘adoptive parents’ were invited to share the moment with their adopted children. A video presentation of all the pictures taken by all the photographers over the past three days was shown, and by the time it ended most were teary eyed. “Once everyone had boarded the bus headed for home we had a chance to reflect on our experience. Everyone felt so different from the first day in the relationships established with the villagers and our fellow students. We were no longer just friends but a family. All of us from Taylor’s felt extremely grateful to have been part of this event and look forward to more events like these in the future."