BY DIANA ESTELLA PETER
The Marsiling Progress Class isn’t just a volunteering programme but has helped to build a community as well.
Volunteering in the community often takes a backseat for most once they leave school. But some RP graduates have continued to help out with a student support group in Marsiling, years after they have left the campus.
School of Technology for the Arts alumnus Abdul Kadir Alimun started volunteering with Marsiling Progress Class in 2017, a year after he graduated. The 23-year-old came to know of the programme through a friend and fellow volunteer, Muhammad Akram Mohammad Hanif who is also an RP alumnus.
Located at Marsiling Community Club, Marsiling Progress Class is a volunteer group that provides academic support and character-building programmes to primary school children from low-income families, residing around Marsiling. For four hours every Sunday morning, volunteers bring interactive classroom activities to the table – such as spelling bee – to make lessons fun for the children, instead of just sticking to textbooks.
Beyond learning in the classroom, volunteers also serve as mentors to the children. “This is more than just a Sunday tuition programme,” said Kadir, a Programme Executive at a Primary School. “They (the children) always looked forward to seeing the volunteers every Sunday for someone to talk to. It shaped my viewpoint as a volunteer and the impact it can have in their lives.”
RP alumnus Thahera Sheen, 25, has been volunteering with the programme for the past three years. The Diploma in Health Administration graduate discovered the programme through her school email.
“I used to be judgemental but everyone is different and we must learn and be patient,” said Thahera, a sales promoter. “When there’s no class on Sunday, I feel very bored, like I got nothing to do. I’m so used to coming down here, it’s like a routine for me.”
She added: “A Sunday well spent gives us a week’s content.”
Muhammad Akram Mohammad Hanif, who heads the programme’s events and logistics, agreed. “When you volunteer, it isn’t just for the other party, but also for you to improve yourself. It is a two-way thing,” said Muhammad Akram, who graduated in 2017 with a Diploma in Biomedical Sciences.
The volunteers have more plans in the future, ranging from volunteer outreach to the expansion of classes. They are also open to having new volunteers who are willing to help the community and sponsors for the programme too. The volunteers aim to provide more programmes for wider age demographics, such as literacy programmes and secondary school programmes.
Muhammad Akram, who completed his National Service in October, said: “I want the children to leave here knowing they are never alone, and that they have someone.”
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