Teaching at a refugee school was, without doubt, one of the most rewarding experiences I had as an expat in Kuala Lumpur. The opportunity to work as a volunteer teacher came when a friend invited me to visit the Zo Learning Centre, a centre for Myanmar refugees.
My friend already volunteered once a week. I went with her one Monday, and after this first visit, I fell in love with the kids. The school was happy to welcome another volunteer, so I decided to join the team and started to teach the kids every Monday morning in the art and crafts class.
Volunteering at the art classes
The kids were adorable, and every time I left the school, I felt a great sense of achievement. I loved to bring some much-needed help and ideas into the classroom during the art classes, like planning the activities for painting, making new crafts, or even playing or reading stories for them.
During those two years as a volunteer, I also made new friends and enjoyed my time with the other volunteers as well.
I can clearly say that the best thing we bring as a volunteer is loving arms for these amazing kids, that are always so grateful for the smallest things. They were so polite, sweet, and eager to learn, and it had been really gratifying to see their improvement each week.
A worthwhile experience
Another great part about volunteering is meeting all sorts of people, whose paths you probably would never have crossed otherwise. I felt sad though to hear the stories from the older kids, about the ordeals the refugees had to endure before arriving in Malaysia with their families.
It was absolutely a worthwhile experience, and I’m planning to do it again in the future. I met some amazing people, both refugees and volunteers, and I’m still in touch with some of the people I met, even though we now live in different countries.
How can you help these kids at the refugee school?
I believe everyone could find a spot in their sometimes-busy days to work as a volunteer, even if it’s just for an hour a week. Please make sure that you are committed, because you are making a difference to the people you are working with. My volunteer time has been an amazing experience, very enriching and full of learning that will remain in my memory forever.
Would you like to help but not sure how? Please contact the centre’s coordinator, Ms May Chooi. You can email her here.
The address of the Zo Learning Centre: 14-1 Jalan Wangsa 2/5, Taman Wangsa Permai, Kepong.
There are more charities where you can lend a helping hand! Have a look here at our article about charities in Malaysia.