‘Kelas Kasih’ shines light into Orang Asli community

20 Feb 2019 / 13:42 H.

SEMENYIH: An awareness on the importance of helping the less fortunate, prompted a young man with a full-time job, to use his leisure time to open free tuition classes for the needy.

Muhammad Khairul Azkar Mohd Halim, founded and co-ordinated ‘Kelas Kasih’, namely, to provide free tuition classes for the children in the Orang Asli community in Selangor since Sept 2015, to ensure their education was not neglected.

Khairul Azkar, 29, said the classes which were conducted in the Orang Asli villages of Sungai Buah in Dengkil and Kampung Kachau Dalam in Ulu Semenyih, were aimed at helping the Orang Asli children at the two villages master reading and writing.

‘’After my father died when my seven siblings and myself were still schooling, we were taken care of by an uncle due to poverty. Starting from there, I vowed to help the less fortunate when I grow up.

‘’Starting with only 40 volunteers, we now have 2,000 from various backgrounds including students, graduates and professionals,’’ he told Bernama here.

He said the two classes were held for two hours on Sundays and adopted the one-to-one concept, namely, one volunteer to one student, to ensure every student received maximum attention.

“We teach the children Mathematics and English, depending on their levels, of skill using fun methods so that they will not easily get bored.

‘’Thank god, to date, the response of the students and their families is very good. Some thanked us after the classes and gave us flowers. How not to love them?” he quipped.

Khairul Azkar said most of the Orang Asli children who were already in Standard Six did not want to continue their studies to Form One due to the discriminations they faced in school as they were often marginalised by the other pupils.

‘’As such, at every class, we will bolster their spirit to continue their studies up to secondary school because we want them to know that education will change the fortunes of their families,’’ he said.

This writer also had the opportunity to sit in on one of the tuition classes at the Nur Iman Surau, Kampung Kachau Dalam, located 15 km from Semenyih Town, which is occupied by 35 Orang Asli families.

According to Khairul Azkar, most of them did not leave their respective settlements except to go to school.

The determination of the volunteers, who were so enthused in teaching the Orang Asli children in a focused and patient manner, deserved kudos.

In fact, the children, aged from three to 18 years, also received the volunteers, whom they called ‘teacher’, very cheerfully and they were also seen giving full attention and were in high spirit when soaking up knowledge.

Reading, teaching and writing materials were contributed by non-government organisations who were concerned with the welfare of the Orang Asli children.

According to one of the volunteers who had joined the ‘Kelas Kaseh’ for the first time, Adilah Syahirah Ahmad Sharifuddin, 25, she was gobsmacked when she found out about a 12-year-old pupil who did now know the ABC and could not read.

“I found out about the class from a friend who promoted it through the social media and after experiencing a session, I feel it is a good programme to fill leisure time and it gives me satisfaction to teach the less fortunate children,’’ she said. — Bernama

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