AT TAYLOR'S: Sim Jia Kent (JiaKent.Sim@taylors.edu.my)
PROJECT PARTNER: Dignity For Children Foundation (dignity@dignityforchildren.org)
‘Tell me a story!’ How often have we heard, or even said these words? This phrase was the springboard for Taylor’s College, Sri Hartamas Children’s Literacy Programme. The word “programme” scarcely does justice to this whole-hearted effort, with dedicated volunteers faithfully and enthusiastically participating in a weekly arrangement. Those who willingly contribute several hours for this cause seek to increase the educational qualifications of the children, most whom are either refugees, or are lacking the legal documentation to attend a government school.  Pioneered by 2014 Rotaract Club president, Joshua Low, this project is undertaken by the members of the Club every Friday from 2:00pm to 3:30pm.
The extent to which enthusiasm is most decidedly present is shown by the sheer joy radiating from the faces of the children skipping excitedly towards their respective readers. Over the course of the many weeks of this programme, an enduring bond has been formed between the students of Sri Hartamas, and their young listeners at the Dignity School for Children. In order to more successfully capture the youngsters’ attention, the students at Sri Hartamas undertook to learn how to become amateur puppeteers. This wonderful idea was introduced in May of 2014, in a workshop dedicated to learning the secrets behind the mastery of puppeteer arts.
Not content with reading and animating the cloth puppets in their hands, Sri Hartamas students also enliven their reading sessions with song, the young children eagerly chiming back “1,2,3, four and five, Once I Caught A Fish Alive.” These words, diligently learned and recited by these darling children, ring through the hallways in their chirpy, and adorable voices, The outcomes achieved over the past few months have offered precious experiences for those students involved.
One of the volunteers shared about what she has learned, “I think one of the most important things I have learned is the importance of patience.  I have also come to see the nobility of these underprivileged children. They have lost so much, but they have not lost their joy. I have come to value my own life in its essence, along with all the blessings bestowed upon this modern generation whose benefits are so abundantly provided. We all need to be more grateful for the gifts that we possess. It is a heart-warming sight when I am watching the children lovingly dragging on their volunteers when it is time to say goodbye. These kids may not have much, but they know how to love.”
Sri Hartamas is proud of its students who give so much back to the communities around them, and learn to value what is truly important in themselves. Students wanting to get involved in this or any other of the many community service projects at Sri Hartamas can contact the ECA at 03-6203 0168, or send an email to Valarmathy Sarvanan at Valarmathy.Sarvanan@taylors.edu.my

Written by Joshua Low