Teaching Refugees in Malaysia

Written by Abdullah (Class of 2019, Oman)

At the beginning of May, my CAS group, Project Karuiku, travelled all the way to Malaysia to host a workshop for Rohingya refugee children. Project Karuiku, which has the mission of “exchanging learning experiences to accelerate the global thinking of future leaders of tomorrow”, emphasizes the importance of empowering the younger generation. Thus, in collaboration with YES Malaysia, an NGO that focuses on community service and citizen responsibility, we held a two-day workshop.

The first day revolved around the theme of ’empowerment’. We played leadership games with meaningful learning outcomes together with the children. We were able to introduce many new games, while keeping some of our classics (which have been tried and tested at many of our campus events!). The emphasis with these games was on the importance of communication and collaboration, which tied in nicely with the activities of the next day, which taught empowerment through sports. After teaching the children some basic basketball and volleyball, they were organized into teams and had some friendly competition. We received positive results as the children applied what they had learned throughout the two days with our communication and team-building practices!

The workshop was not without its challenges. We had to hold our workshop in a small room with over 40 children, and this was not an easy task! We were also unused to the heat and humidity in Malaysia, so we tired out a lot easier than the children. I remember how we were all exhausted at the end of the day while they were still running and jumping around! That said, we were really flexible and adapted to the challenges, so it was still an overall success.

“We went there trying to teach them, we walked out learning from them.”
– Razvan (Class of 2019, Romania)

While we were able to impart some lessons to the children, we also learnt a lot from this experience. The amount of respect that the children had towards us was immense, and it made us feel special. Upon our arrival, every single child ensured that they shook our hands and would greet us with a simple “Good morning, teacher!”. This was quite unexpected and demonstrated to us another aspect of leadership.

Project Karuiku believes that it is people like us that should step up and improve the situation for those children, and while we do not have the financial capabilities to remove those children from poverty, we do have the ability to contribute to raising their confidence and self-esteem, and to draw a smile on their faces

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