Sunday school for Chow Kit kids

KUALA LUMPUR: With a mission to provide free education to the children and working poor of Chow Kit, a group of teachers and professionals formed Buku Jalanan Chow Kit (BJCK) a year ago.

Hanim Hassan, one of the seven members of BJCK, said the NGO provides free tuition and religious classes to the children and their parents.

"The concept of BJCK is we go where the children are or where there is a need to provide literacy.

"However, for the time being we will be focusing on Chow Kit itself because this is the place where there are many low income Malaysians," Hanim told theSun in a recent interview.

Hanim said the idea for the initiative came about because of the huge number of children living in the area who would usually play by the busy roadside or loiter about after school as they waited for their parents to return home from work.

She said most of the children and their parents are not homeless, but struggle to make ends meet, let alone provide educational help for their children.

"Hence, regardless what the weather condition is on Sunday night, we always turn up on time without fail to provide the free tuition or counselling classes even if only one child turns up," she said.

Hanim said one of BJCK's ongoing challenge is the lack of volunteers who are willing to sacrifice their Sunday nights on a long-term basis.

She said the group is also facing difficulty in finding a suitable venue to conduct their classes, adding that classes are currently being conducted at the loading bay of Alka Ria Textile.

"We are looking for a proper place, but due to the current economic situation, not many building owners are willing to allow us to use their vacant space.

"What we require is a place on a weekly basis for free that can accommodate up to 160.

"There are roughly 74 children from 45 families who attend the weekly sessions, where 69% of them are pre-schoolers and this is why we urgently need volunteers who are able to engage and teach these children," she said.

Siti Hajah, the vice chairman of BJCK, said the children who attend their classes would be assessed on their learning abilities first.

"These classes are merely to assist them with their daily learning so that they can cope with what is being taught in school and as a result excel in their studies," she said.