Granting Refugee Children and Youth the Gift of Education

Dr Hartini Zainudin with Nasrol b. Halim, age 12, a recipient of 'Best Student for Geography Subject' from KL Krash Pad (KLKP).

Kuala Lumpur, 14 November 2015 - While most children in Malaysia are raised in comfortable homes and spoilt for choice with toys and gadgets, there are children who are deprived of these luxuries.

Those from conflict and war-torn countries living in exile only can yearn for the same. There are many of them who had to flee their countries with their families out of fear of persecution. As refugees, they often face multiple forms of discrimination and with no access to basic education and healthcare.

As of the end of September 2015, there are some 153,850 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia. Of these, 33,740 are children below the age of 18.

Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD), the philanthropic arm of Sime Darby Berhad, under its Community & Health pillar has been an advocate for the marginalised, the disadvantaged and neglected children and youth since 2009. In its efforts to provide and promote better wellbeing for these children, YSD partnered with Yayasan Chow Kit (YCK) with a support of RM2.75 million from 2011 until 2017.

The objective of the assistance is mainly for education and personal development of disadvantaged children and youth who are stateless, refugees and those who are exposed to negative activities in the areas where they lived.

The sponsorship rendered by YSD covers intervention programmes such as YCK’s Literacy Programme - homeschooling and living skills classes for both primary and secondary students from Pusat Aktiviti Kanak-Kanak (PAKK) and KL Krash Pad (KLKP), YCK’s Counselling Programme for underprivileged children and youth, YCK’s social work and cases management where YSD supports eight teachers and two social workers to deliver homeschooling programmes and social work at the centre.

In conjunction with Universal Children’s Day, YCK is hosting its Homeschooling Awards Day to recognise and celebrate 35 students from PAKK and KLKP based on their academic achievements, participation in extra-curricular activities as well as their best attributes throughout the year.

Since the sponsorship commenced in 2011, a total of 118 refugees and undocumented children and youth have benefitted from the YCK Literacy Programme with improved literacy rate and psychosocial development. These children and youth aged seven to 17 years old are regularly engaged in outside classroom activities such as field trips, sports, community work, leadership programme and religious classes.

Speaking at the event, YSD Governing Council Member Datin Paduka Zaitoon Dato’ Othman said, YSD is committed to improve the lives of the disadvantaged and champions policy changes to provide a safer, more secure and healthy environment for children in families and communities.

“YSD strives to improve the implementation of child protection policies in the country through our support for laws that protect children from exploitation and abuse as well as the support of centres and programmes that help rebuild the lives of victimised children.”

“In this instance, we are determined to improve the quality of life for these refugee children who do not have access to basic educational opportunities through a home-schooling programme. It is hoped that through our sponsorship, these children will be able to make better life choices and hone their skills from the life empowering activities that YCK offers,” said Zaitoon.

Founder of YCK, Dr Hartini Zainudin also added, “Too many of these young people see their potential hindered by extreme poverty, discrimination or lack of information and access to education. But with proper investment in their education and opportunities, these young people’s ideas, ideals and innovations could transform the future. YCK's homeschooling programme aims to address this disparity in access to education. Because all our children matter! They matter! Their future matters to us!”

Community and Health, one of the pillars of Yayasan Sime Darby’s philanthropy supports community-based programmes and sustainable initiatives intended to promote the wellbeing and health of disadvantaged people and enhance the welfare of neglected children and senior citizens, vulnerable women, people with disabilities and other marginalised groups.

At the YCK Awards Day, Tan Sri Razali Ismail presents an award to Swabidah bt Ramzan, age 10, a recipient of 'Best Student for Mathematics & Religious Studies' from Pusat Aktiviti Kanak-Kanak (PAKK). 

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Last Updated:
05 Jan 2018
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