Sunday January 27, 2013
Malaysian students return from Down Under to help poor kids
By WANI MUTHIAH
PETALING JAYA: They are home for the holidays, but a few Malaysians studying in Australia are giving up their break as they embark on a project to help underprivileged students from rural schools.
Members of the Malaysian Students Council of Australia's Victoria chapter (Masca Victoria) have created the Inspire Southeast Asia volunteering project under the council's student empowered arm MInspire.
Masca secretary Tan Ying, 21, said the project was to show the council members the plight of students who were not as privileged as them.
Tan, who is a third year media and communication undergraduate at Melbourne University, spoke of how a Form One student in SMK Pulau Indah, where the volunteering project's pilot camp was held last month, was discovered to be highly talented.
The volunteers gave English classes and organised leadership and team-building activities during the three-day camp.
Tan said her participation in the project had shown her how sheltered her life was.
“These underprivileged students are a resilient lot who make the most of whatever little they had or received,” she said.
MInspire chief executive officer Ooi Soo Mei, 21, said she took part in the project because she was always reminded by her parents how lucky she was.
“I was brought up being told that I had to give back to the country by helping those who were not as lucky as me,” said the third year accounting and finance student, who is also studying at Melbourne University.
As for Inspire Southeast Asia project chief executive officer Melissa Azleen Wan Ismail, 23, coming home for the holidays and giving back to the community was her way of showing gratitude for the Public Service Department scholarship that she had been given.
“I am very lucky to have been given a chance to study in Australia and I want to help inspire more students to do well academically,” said the final year chemical engineering student of Melbourne University.
Melissa Azleen said she also wanted to impart to students in Malaysian schools the need to have critical thinking and be outspoken.
She said Masca members would be organising more of such projects for Malaysian students when they come home for the holidays.