I’m Michelle. Im creating this fund raising campaign of 6,000 USD for the refugee kids organization I volunteered as a tutor every weekend. They’re called C.S.O (Chin Student Community). Those kids are refugee kids escaped from Burma. They are from a community called the Chin Community. The organization was founded in 2005 by university-graduated students from Burma but escaped to Malaysia for the same reason and purpose. The kids are denied local schooling so the organization was created by their own people with a purpose for the kids to achieve education despite their status in the society.
They have 4 centres located in Kuala Lumpur with a total of about 160 kids and 13 full time teachers that teach run the centres. So, how does the organization sustain themselves? Every kid contributes RM50 every month towards the organization. It’s about RM8000+ a month to sustain 4 centres.
Fees break down equally to each centre as below:
- Rental (each about RM1400-RM1500, 3 centres are currently paid by sponsors)
- Utilities bill including electricity, water and wifi (About RM700 each)
- School supplies (Only RM100 each due to insufficient fund)
- Food allowance for the teachers (RM750 on average for each centre)
- Meeting transportation for the teachers (RM300 in total)
- Teachers salary (RM50-RM200 per month. Salaries of the teachers are distributed evenly from the remaining fund)
The organization and the teachers are barely sustaining and surviving. I asked Peter, a full time teacher that joined the organization 4 years ago, what is the reason for him to keep holding on.
Faith and hope he said.
2018 C.S.O SCHOOL REGISTRATION & OPENING
In January 2018, me and a friend from U.K attended their 2018 school opening and delivered speeches to empower and motivate the kids. About 80 kids registered at this particular centre we went to from age 3-16.
Mehran was my Airbnb guest that came to Malaysia for a football trial. We soon became good friends and he came along with me to deliver a speech for the kids. He happens to once be a refugee kid escaping from Pakistan to the U.K with his family too. It took them 13 years to get the U.K citizenship status and he became the first in the family to graduate with a degree. So he is now proudly a Bachelor of Science in Architecture (part 1). I believe no one is better than him to deliver an empowering speech to the kids. But thankfully for him his family and him were provided asylum and job opportunities in the U.K back then and they were able to enrolled into local schools.
He was given an opportunity and he took it. But Mehran’s dream is to become a football player despite the fact that his parents much prefer him to stick to his education and a stable job in the future. Ultimately and finally, he got his parents support to reach for his dream while he still can. His parents sacrificed everything for him and his siblings when they were little so when they grow up, they can reach for their dreams. He said it’s not what you can achieve, it’s if you decide to achieve them or just let it stay being just a dream.
We hosted drawing contest for the kids allowing them to express themselves through their artworks.
The photos below are photos from another centre in KL (IMBI):
I came from a broken family, living in violence during most of my childhood. At least that's what I remember anyway. Due to very personal and selfish move of my dad, I was unable to pursue my education further that's why I understand the pain of those kids as they are denied local schooling. I've hit rock bottom of my life but I stood up because I refused to give up and most importantly I've worked hard to get out of depression I suffered. Eventually opportunities knocked on my door with many career opportunities. And this are what the kids lack- opportunities. I can't change their lives overnight but what I can do is contribute as much as I can starting from something small but meaningful. I think and hope that everyone do the same as kindness is free and it's everyone can afford to give. I have such a need to justify all the pain I felt in my life and all the pain those kids are facing now. I hope I can inspire people and our story can motivate people that is struggling. I can't move mountain but if I can do something or contribute anything to help those kids to reach for their dreams I would do my best.
Ever since I joined this volunteer tutoring program last year, I knew I have to do something to raise awareness for them. So I spread words about the tutoring program to everyone I met hoping that they will join me doing good. Until now we have stable volunteers that join us mostly every weekend. Right now the centres are facing some difficulties especially the Cheras centre. As you can see, it’s an open space centre which is why the teaching can’t take place in a efficient way. Right now they need partition for the centre to carry on the teaching.
The partition plan is to divide the open space centre into 4 different classrooms to accommodate different lessons age wise as the kids are ranging from 3 year old to 16 year old. But we are hoping for flexible/removable walls that could be remove or push aside so meetings or assemblies can take place in the same centre too when needed.
The partition costs RM22,000 It’s equivalent to about 5,650 USD. I have a business plan to collaborate with the organization in the long run to sustain them and continuously to help them in anyway I can but right now my main focus is to help them get through this hurdle. Im raising 6,000 USD for partition, the extra 350 USD will go to repairing and buying supplies for the centres.
I initially created a crowd funding campaign for them on gofundme.com but due to their T&C my account had been taken down but it won’t stop me from achieving this goal for them. So right now I am spreading words about this campaign to people I know hoping that we can reach this goal as soon so the kids can continue their education.
I didn’t have the greatest start. I couldn’t finish high school and pursue my education further. It is one of the biggest regrets of my life. I studied art and music and I promised myself one day when I am capable I will continue my education and I know I will. I believe that where you came from should not determine what you can do or achieve in life. That’s why I am devoted to help out these kids. There is such a need in me to justify that everyone should be treated equally.
As a refugee, you escaped to another country and wait to be relocated to another one and the process could take years. To be honest it’s like hoping to strike the lottery for them, it’s all by chance. In this very judgemental society, you live for the sake of surviving.
No matter how hard my life was, if I work hard there will always be opportunities that bring me further in life. This is what they lack, opportunity. They need to be recognized. I did an interview with the kids and surprisingly when I asked them if they are happy. Everyone of them said yes and they are grateful. This is what I learned from them. Always be grateful and appreciate life.
Finally, I hope this statement is enough for anyone that is willing to make a difference for the kids.
If we reached our goal, I thank you with all my heart who helps with their journey.
For all the kids that want to be doctors, football players, scientists, engineers, teachers, singers when they grow up… Please make it possible for them.