Miri – 30 May 2016 – As part of their university’s community engagement initiatives, some 15 staff and students of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) helped spruce up the new centre for the Miri branch of Pertubuhan Orang Cacat Sarawak (POCS), or the Sarawak Society for the Disabled, recently.
Joining them in the half-day activity were about 25 members and volunteers from the POCS.
The centre, located at No. 136, Piasau Camp, is a former Sarawak Shell and government staff quarters recently handed over by the Miri Resident’s Office to POCS Miri for its office and activity centre. The building, however, needs substantial repairs and refurbishment before it can be fully operational.
The volunteers cleared weeds, shrubs and debris in the compound, dismantled and disposed of dilapidated fittings and furniture, repaired plumbing, and generally gave the premises a good clean-up to make it more habitable for the POCS members.
According to POCS Miri Secretary Abdul Aziz bin Brahim, it was the first time the Miri branch had collaborated with an external party for a clean-up activity. He said that previously, its members who consisted of physically disabled persons conducted their own spring-cleaning, partly to encourage independence and self-sufficiency and gauge their physical capabilities.
“It was very heartening to see how far our members could go with this project despite their physical disabilities,” said Abdul Aziz. “With the help of the Curtin Sarawak volunteers, so much was achieved and the house and its surroundings are now clean and clear of hazards that used to pose risks of accidents and injury to our members.”
Abdul Aziz added that other organisations are welcome to support POCS Miri in getting the centre set up. He said the house still needs of a lot of work, especially in terms of its structure and fittings like putting in a ceiling and replacing missing windows and doors. Members of the public can also donate used or new items to furnish the house.
More information can be obtained by contacting POCS Miri Chairman Remo Rai at 019-851 2161 or via email at [email protected].
Meanwhile, Curtin Sarawak Chief Operating Officer Kingsley Francis Charles, who was among the volunteers, said Curtin Sarawak is committed to volunteering its resources to the POCS centre in the long-term, to ensure that it is conducive as a meeting point for members of the society to engage in learning and social and recreational activities. He said more projects are being planned and it is hoped more staff and students will lend their support.
All those who participated in the project indicated that they enjoyed the experience, including working alongside the POCS members, and felt they made a positive contribution to the community through the effort.
Curtin Sarawak students and staff are deeply involved in the community through a variety of projects spanning numerous categories in the areas of community, leadership and environment; education, research and technology; and social issues. The projects not only help shape the local communities, but some recent international projects by students have also brought change to communities in other countries.
In its commitment to engaging communities and changing lives for the better, the university creates and provides service opportunities for students by collaborating with campus and community partners. Volunteering for community-based projects not only provides its students with opportunities to make a positive impact on the campus and community, but also to gain leadership skills, build relationships with fellow students, and gain experience in their fields of interest.
科廷大学（澳洲大学马来西亚分校） Curtin University Sarawak Malaysia