"Small Changes, Big Differences" - my article to the press

5:39:00 PM

“Small Changes, Big Differences”- that is the motto of these group of young adults who call themselves ‘Small Changes’. During the recent weekend, 15 volunteers from the Klang Valley area drove all the way down to Kota Malai in Pasir Gudang, Johor, to motivate students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds but have performed fairly well in their PMR.

These young volunteers are concerned on the education inequalities between the urban and rural areas where aspirations are shaped by social surroundings - the son of a doctor is more likely to be one after being influenced by his father and the son of a farmer is more likely to become one for he has no other role model to look up to.

“We believe that every person should be given equal chance in being the best person that they can aspire to be in life, thus we hope to expose them to those chances,” said the Project Coordinator, also the founder of the newly formed group, Azri Malek Wan Haron.

‘Small Changes’ consists of freshly graduated students who are now in their first few years of their respective careers. They come from various backgrounds: lawyers, lecturers, doctors, engineers, interior designers, quantity surveyors, accountants and economists who studied locally and overseas.

“We hope that we can impart the skills that we have learned throughout our studies and be a reference point for them,” he also added.

The programme started with an ice-breaking session to break the barrier between the students and the facilitators. With games like ‘human knot’ and ‘power hand shake’, the timid and shy students suddenly became excited and eager with the programme. With the successful ice breaking session, the following modules just followed through smoothly and effectively.

Other modules conducted during the first day include ‘Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail’ – where students were divided into groups and were asked to build bridges using straws within a limited amount of time. Later on in the evening, the students were instilled with the notion that ‘English Language is fun and should not be a barrier to successes’ in the module ‘I Love English’.

“It was a fun scene to look at the students having the courage to at least try speaking in English and laughed and learned together with their friends. Some told me that before this, they get ashamed just speaking a
single word of English, “said the ‘I Love English’ module leader, Murni Wan Mohd Nor.

Apart from that, the students were also introduced to the various pathways available for them to reach their career goals. Following that, the module ‘Career Presentation’ managed to open up their eyes on different types of careers available in the market today. Surprisingly, many of the students are only aware of the traditional professional careers such as doctors, lawyers, accountants and engineers and have not heard of ‘economists’ or ‘interior designer’ and ‘quantity surveyors’.

The fun-filled 2-days motivational program received positive feedbacks from the students and teachers of Sekolah Menengah Kota Masai 2 that they sighed when the program has reached to its end.

“We felt satisfied and touched when the students came up to us and thanked us for believing in them; some even teared,” said Azri.

“I asked a boy on his aims for SPM. He told me that he’s aiming for 6As, 2Bs and 1C. I asked him why not aim for 9As? He said, “I just don’t think that is possible, I don’t think I can,” said one of the facilitators, Wan Zokhri Idris

At the end of the program, the students were asked to give their feedbacks on the program.

“I find this program fun as we don’t get punished for doing something wrong. Every module was exciting and motivating,” said one of the students, Lumi Shara Jagat

Some also said they were happy to roughly know where their path would be after SPM.

“We now tell ourselves that if we think we can, we surely can,” said another student, Muhamad Aziim b. Huzaimi

‘Small Changes’ first program will not have been a success without the help of sponsors and donations from families and friends. The students also received dictionaries, stationaries, SPM exercise books as well as story books. Small Changes will not be a one-off program; the group is planning for more similar programs in the future.


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