Miri – 25 November 2015 – Members of the Humanitarian Affairs Curtin Sarawak (HACS) Student Chapter of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak), which was formed only in 2014, can stand proud for having had a most productive 2015 organising various humanitarian projects.
Most recently, it organised a Humanitarian Affairs Awareness Week at Curtin Sarawak with the theme ‘Be a Humanitarian Hero Today!’. The campaign was aimed at creating awareness among the university’s staff and students of the importance of volunteering in rural and disaster prone areas and collaborating with non-profit organisations on future community projects.
The event, which was officiated by Assistant Minister of Communication and Sports Datuk Lee Kim Shin, included activities such as talks by non-profit organisations (NPOs) and a display of handicrafts by the special children of PIBAKIS Miri (Association of Parents with Special Children).
Among the speakers invited from the NPOs were Dr. Lutfi Fadil Lokman of Hospitals Beyond Boundaries; Kelvin Lim of Change Your World and Phillip Jau of Lightup Borneo.
Dr Lutfi spoke on Hospitals Beyond Boundaries’ relief efforts in Cambodia creating clinics and outreach programmes for Malaysian youth to improve the healthcare of rural villages while Lim talked about Change Your World’s ‘Be My Protector’ campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking. Phillip Jau, meanwhile, shared some of the challenges Lightup Borneo faced in providing access to electricity in rural villages in the Baram area.
Hospitals Beyond Boundaries (HBB) is a non-profit organisation made up of youths from various fields of expertise united by a mission to build hospitals where they are needed most, and Change Your World is a social enterprise committed to engaging youth to explore important social issues through inspiring leadership and volunteer programmes. Lightup Borneo is a group that promotes access to electricity and lighting in Borneo’s vast interior in the belief that lighting and electricity can help widen access to information and promote better understanding of people’s rights.
The Awareness Week ended with a fundraising dinner themed ‘Celebrating Our Humanitarian Heroes’, which was attended by over 100 guests and from which a substantial amount of funds was raised for PIBAKIS Miri. Among the campaign’s sponsors and supporters were Datuk Lee and Curtin Sarawak’s Office of Student Affairs, Student Council and Corporate Communications Department.
In addition, the Chapter organised a visit to the PIBAKIS Miri Day Care Centre with the objective to instill a sense of empathy towards the disabled community. In preparation for the visit, a Sign Language Workshop facilitated by experienced trainers was held for members to learn how to communicate better with the children at the centre.
28 student volunteers organised various activities including games, hand painting and baking lessons during the visit, while organising chairperson Dexter Stanley Guang handed over the funds collected from the Awareness Week fundraising dinner to the president of PIBAKIS Miri, Chiam Yun Chaw.
Dexter said he was happy with the outcome of the event and that it was a meaningful experience for both the student volunteers and children. Co-founder and vice-president of HACS Aaron Lim Chee Ren remarked that such activities allow the student volunteers to gain broader perspectives of their roles in bringing about positive social change.
The HACS kick-started its projects for the year with a Community Enhancement Project at Kampung Damai Senadin not far from the university’s campus, in which 80 students and staff took part over a one-month period from 26 April to 10 and 24 May.
Aimed at improving the living conditions of the urban poor in the city, the volunteers helped rebuild and refurbish a bridge and other structures in the village, conducted English reading sessions, delivered a motivational talk, and taught the villagers carry out do-it-yourself (DIY) projects of their own, as well as how to respond and prepare for emergencies through first aid training. The project was supported by Datuk Lee, the university’s library, and Leadership and Entrepreneurship Centre (LEC).
This was followed by a donation drive in July for members of the Persatuan Malim Gunung Kinabalu (Mount Kinabalu Guides Association) whose livelihoods were affected by the 5 June earthquake that hit Sabah. RM1,500 was raised from the effort and handed over to the association at a simple handover ceremony held in Kota Kinabalu.
The Chapter also initiated the SukaEnglish Project in September, its first international teaching project to teach English and other essential skills to primary and secondary school students in Sukabumi, Indonesia, in collaboration with student volunteers from University of Indonesia.
The project was sponsored by Curtin Sarawak’s Student Council, Marketing Department and LEC, and supported by the university’s Learning Centre which helped design the teaching modules.
Humanitarian Affairs Curtin Sarawak Student Chapter is part of the Humanitarian Affairs United Kingdom, a London-based social enterprise. It has an Asia Secretariat based in Thailand known as Humanitarian Affairs Asia. The organisation empowers young people in bringing about positive social change by initiating and supporting humanitarian relief efforts and development programmes in countries that are poverty-stricken and disaster-prone.
Through such activities, the Humanitarian Affairs Curtin Sarawak Student Chapter provides students and staff the opportunity to engage in humanitarian service, strengthen their cultural understanding, and develop a lifelong commitment to helping others by participating in relief efforts.
For more information on Humanitarian Affairs Curtin Sarawak Student Chapter, email [email protected] or visit the chapter’s Facebook page.
科廷大学（澳洲大学马来西亚分校） Curtin University Sarawak Malaysia