as told by KAMRAJ SHANMUGANATHAN, SK Tumunda Salimandut volunteer
To watch all the kids cry after our farewell ceremony yesterday was not easy at all. One particular kid asked if we can continue staying there and it was hard to reply her by saying ‘no’. Another kid approached me and said I am a good hearted ‘abang’ even though I am always stern. The night full of emotions ended after a reflection session among the volunteers. To go to the bed with a heavy heart of leaving this place; the teachers and parents whom looked after us with great hospitality, the team which kept my motivation going on for the past 2 weeks and especially the kids whom were the ones inspired me; it was a feeling I can’t describe.
Our last day started off with another short farewell ceremony with the school headmaster, his team and standard 6 kids. I felt touched when Cikgu Katirin, the Senior Assistant for Academics shed tears while she was giving her farewell speech. We could really feel how highly she appreciates our presence. The short farewell ceremony continued with the standard 6 kids shaking hands with us. We received cards, bookmarks and gifts from them too. We went to the school hall for another farewell bid by all the students. A melancholic traditional music played by a few locals accompanied the ceremony. During this ceremony, I remembered my promise to play bingo with two kids. I quickly called them and managed to keep my promise (phewwww!). The ceremony ended with a group photo with all the school teachers as well as the kids. It was really cute to watch a kid ran his full speed towards Jacklyn when the teachers called all the kids to be in the photo. We left the school at 10.10AM.
These two weeks has been a real eye opener for me. To realise that I took education for granted while these kids in rural areas are still struggling with basic mathematics operations and English words. To realise how much education opportunity is unequal in my own country. It is as if they are trapped in a fish bowl while I am in another luxury fish bowl. You will never realise how severe is the condition of another fish bowl until you jump out from yours. We should all be given the same opportunity to live in this country and I believe that it starts with education from young age. Without education, one will never realise if he is being used or exploited by someone else. I wish an equal education opportunity will be created in this country soon. Volunteering project does make me realise how this issue persists, how about you?