Volunteers join school teachers and parents for a group photo.
MIRI: Twenty-four volunteers from Curtin University Sarawak Malaysia recently ran their ‘Reaching Out’ programme at SK Nanga Medamit in Limbang Division.
This community engagement was undertaken following the success of a similar programme at SK Kuala Medalam – also a rural school in the division – last year.
SK Nanga Medamit is reachable from Limbang either via a 45-minute drive on the road, or via small boats along Medamit River. The school houses over 200 kindergarten and primary school children, under the charge of 30 staff members.
Curtin Sarawak ‘Reaching Out’ is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative under the university’s office of student affairs (OSA). The volunteers consist of university personnel, including health officers and counsellors attached to the OSA.
According to Curtin Sarawak OSA dean Dr Adeline Wong, the programme engages rural school communities in the state’s northern region by providing free health checks such as body mass index (BMI), blood glucose and blood pressure (BP); conducting educational and awareness programmes for parents and teachers; and holding fund-raisers to help these communities build key facilities.
“Our goal is to inspire children at remote schools and communities to have dreams and aspirations for the future, through education.
“The programme also helps create an awareness among the parents of the importance of education for their children,” said Dr Wong.
On a planned second visit to SK Kuala Medalam in October, Wong said it would involve academicians from the university’s Faculty of Business and Faculty of Engineering and Science.
Upon their arrival at SK Nanga Medamit, the volunteers were given a warm welcome by SK Nanga Medamit headmaster Sampai Saka, its parent-teacher association (PTA) representative Bujie Jampang, members of the school staff, students and their parents.
The volunteers were also treated to cultural dance and choir performances, apart from local delicacies for breakfast and lunch.
In his welcoming remarks, Sampai thanked the volunteers for the initiative, adding that it was a great honour and privilege for the school to be part of their ‘Reaching Out’ programme.
“We always welcome such visits, which are aimed at promoting education and knowledge-sharing to participants. We look forward to having the team in their next visit in the near future.”
Meanwhile, SK Nanga Medamit Cultural Club coordinator Sunardi Jamil said the pupils and members of the shool staff had spent a significant amount of time preparing for the volunteers’ visit.
“We have been practising new dance routines and songs for our performances, gathering fresh jungle produce for the meals and also decorating the school.”