As an education institution, Taylor’s seeks to educate the youth of the world to take their productive place as leaders in the global community. We dream of the world where each and every underprivileged child realised their full potential and achieves excellence in his/her life. Education is not only a fundamental right; it is one of the most valuable assets an underprivileged and a refugee can have. Education is a basic human right, and without the chance to study, we risk losing an entire generation of children when the solution is in our hands.
At last weekend’s Engineering Inspiration Workshop, Taylor’s Education Group Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility (GCCSR) department together with Taylor’s University School of Engineering (SOE) brought together more than 100 underprivileged and refugee youths from eight different schools and organisations for a 2-day workshop along with the SOE students taking the Community Service Initiative module. Held in Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus, the programme aimed to inspire the underprivileged and refugee youths to believe in themselves, to commit to their education, to see hope for their future and perhaps to consider a technical career as a stepping stone to a better life. Youths between the ages of 11-19 were broken into 14 groups and mentored by our SOE students to teach them about engineering, science and presentation skills.
The programme, led by SOE Senior Lecturer Douglas Tong, saw the direct involvement of his students in assisting him to organise the 2-day workshop and also extra-ordinary mentoring skills as they mentored the underprivileged and refugee youths to build a prototype and present it to the crowd of more than 200 people as a mini competition. The students did not only learn how to share their knowledge to their mentees with language barrier, they also learnt how to be responsible project managers in ensuring the prototypes deserve a full score from the judges.
The workshop flagged off in the morning 20th May observed the tense facial expression and unconformable feelings by the participants, especially the underprivileged and refugee youths. They were then let loose by an impactful ice breaking session by Duncan Tsen, a Taylor’s University School of Computing & IT student who’s the founder of FeedOn and the co-founder and Chief Training Officer of a personal development company, Genesis Education International. At the end of the workshop in the evening of 21st May, a total 360 degrees change of expressions and feelings were witnessed where mentors and mentees were taking selfies, exchanged contacts and even hugged.
Here are some of the sharing from participants and organisers of the programme.
“I want to share that in these two days, my friends and I have learnt a lot of things. This morning when we were at the lab, we learnt how to use various tools that was available there. So thank you to my mentors and friends. Through his programme, we got to know each other and learnt about teamwork and communication skills. I would also like to thank the organisers for organizing such event for me to learn so many new things.”
- A 15 year-old female participant from PPR Sri Pantai
“I’m so happy to be here, learning a lot of new words and making lots of friends. I am happy to know everyone here. Thanks to my teachers, my mentors and my friends for this wonderful experience.”
- A 11 year-old male participant from Top Achievers Academy
“I want to say many thanks to all of you for giving me the opportunity to be in this programme. I have learnt of lot of things and I’m happy that I can participate in this programme. I hope there will be more of such programme for us in future.”
- A 18 year-old male participant from Solar Academy
“The kids are really happy to be a part of this event. They told me that this is a great event and it’s really helpful to them as they have learnt so much from their mentors, not only technical knowledge, but also communication, team work and language. I am also grateful to Taylor’s for always staying in touch with us through the university (Human Library Event) and also Australian International School (the many service learning project). As refugees in Malaysia, we are blessed for institutions like Taylor’s who never stop giving us the opportunity and privilege to be a part of you as well.”
- Peter – Chin School Organisation Imbi teacher
“It has been a wonderful time for me these past two days. Meeting my mentees and getting to know more about them is really a miracle. The event is really an eye opener to me. As part of the organising committee, frankly, organizing something for almost 200 people isn’t easy. But by looking at how Taylor’s University students and the youths from various schools cooperating, I will say that this it is a huge success. I hope everyone has enjoyed, both the mentees and the mentors and also more of such programme should happen more often in the future.”
- Rashvin – Taylor’s University, School of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering student
“I hope everyone enjoyed the event. I’m happy to see that my mentees’ work and skills improved bit by bit. I really enjoyed teaching and coaching them for these two days. Our knowledge sharing to them is a meaningful way to express ourselves.”
- Leong Chie Quen aka Junior – Taylor’s University, School of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering student
“The idea of the programme came from May, Taylor’s Group CSR Manager. Last year we had youths from an orphanage and a refugee school. This year the number of participants rose to almost triple with youths from 8 different refugee schools and communities. I’m grateful for the help of May and the entire CSR team for organizing this event with me. I would also like to thank all the 8 organisations and schools for participating. It wasn’t only our students who made an impact to your students, but I believed that your students have created an equal impact to us, by being here and by participating in this event. My 14 students in the organizing team, whom came back during the mid-sem break to prepare for this, has done such a wonderful job assisting me and this cannot be done without all of you. I usually see my students in class, I don’t see their real self. In these 2 days, I have seen them for who they are and it’s something that I will take with me until I die. Sincerely from my heart, I feel so proud of all of them.”
- Douglas Tong – Taylor’s University, School of Engineering Senior Lecturer
Big thanks to GCCSR and Taylor’s University, School of Engineering students taking the Community Service Initiative module and especially to Douglas for making this workshop a huge success. Here are the list of participants from the underprivileged and refugee youths:
1. PPR Sri Pantai Community
A government programme to relocate squatters and providing homes for the underprivileged Malaysians. PPR Sri Pantai is the current main beneficiary of Taylor’s Community, the flagship project of Taylor’s Education Group Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility department.
2. Solar Academy SOLS 27/4
A learning centre that provides free education on technical skills and theorectical knowledge in solar industry for underprivileged Malaysians in the aim to reduce unemployment rates in rural Malaysia and poverty in urban areas.
3. MSRI (Malaysian Social Research Institute)
A service delivery NGO working with refugee and asylum-seeker communities whose country of origins are those within Middle Eastern, Central Asian and African regions. They focus on education, health, livelihood and emergency support.
4. The Fugee School
A refugee learning centre in Kuala Lumpur for the Somali refugees.
5. Persatuan Kebajikan Anak-Anak Yatim Damai Kuang
A home for Malaysian orphanage kids and single mothers, providing them with shelter, food, clothes and education and equip them with living skills to be independent in the society.
6. Top Achievers Academy
Formerly known as Pandawas Academy, they focused in providing quality education to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Palestine refugee children in Kuala Lumpur.
A registered voluntary community organization consisting of consists of five learning centers across Kuala Lumpur (Imbi, Loke Yew, Cheras, Sentul and Puchong) whose main aim is to teach Chin refugee children residing in Kuala Lumpur.