A day at the Hilla Community Centre
BECAUSE made its first visit to Hilla Community Centre, an Afghan refugee centre, on 29 October 2011. Our team brought along toys, board games, food, clothes and books for the children who go there to study. Being refugees, these children, who escaped with their families from the on-going conflict in Afghanistan to Malaysia, are not entitled to go to school here.
Their parents are also not allowed to hold proper jobs with Malaysian employers owing to their refugee status, and are usually put on menial tasks with equally menial pay. Their hope for a new, fearless and dignified life is for the UNHCR to relocate them to developed countries to start afresh. However, the relocation process is a lengthy one with many delays. Some of these refugees have waited for more than 3 years for a host country to adopt them.
Recognizing the plight of this minority, in 2007 a Korean expatriate couple, Mr and Mrs Kim, started an initiative to help them, mainly in the aspect of providing education in English. From a small group of 7 children, their student base has now expanded to more than 60 children. Fortunately, there are a number of volunteers who consistently come over to teach these kids, and now they have an organized curriculum (which includes educational trips) to ensure these kids are not too far behind in their schooling and life experiences.
The children did a song and dance performance for the volunteers who visited them that day. They are able to speak to us in English and carry on delightful conversations with us. All this would not have been possible if there was no Centre.
Every year or so, volunteers also come to repaint the “school”, which is really a residential 2-storey terraced house. The place is cheery, and the kids are as cheerful and energetic as any children should be. We congratulate the founders, Mr and Mrs Kim in their sincere and effective efforts in helping to bring up these beautiful children.
However, this does not mean the Centre does not need any aid. They are reliant on the public for funds, food, toys, games… and most importantly, they need people to come over and teach the children not just from books, but practical life skills as well. They are also looking for volunteers to teach the Afghan parents more sellable skills to help them find better job placements.
‘Hilla’ means ‘hope’. Let us be the beacon of hope for these kids to have a brighter future. If you wish to be a volunteer teacher to the beautiful Hilla children or their parents, or would like to visit them to give them a once-off class, feel free to contact Su An at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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