The Mentari Project, a voluntary tuition and children empowerment project of that I founded with entrepreneur and former teacher Mawarni Hassan in 2007 was recently featured on the radio station BFM.
Mawarni and I went to the studio while the station went to the project to meet the students who were also featured in their I Love KL program.
Listen to the MP3 podcast here.
The project is situated in Desa Mentari, a massive low-cost housing estate with 12 blocks and around 30,000 residents in Petaling Jaya. The students are aged 4-17 years old and the project involves full time teachers as well as volunteers who not only help the students academically but also organise trips, projects and activities to make learning fun. The emphasis is on Bahasa Malaysia, English, Science and Mathematics.
The endeavour has been recognised by the Menteri Besar of Selangor as a successful youth initiative and was among the top four teams at the national Lego robotics competition that involved many distinguished schools and institutions.
I used to teach at the project until I became a State Assemblyman. I am currently the patron of the project.
In the past, the project has received assistance in various forms from the likes of Brunsfield, CIMB, General Electric, Vijayaratnam Foundation, Hess, Sri KL, KDU, TNB, PKNS, the Menteri Besar of Selangor, PJCC, KDEB, Ikano Centre, Karangkraf, Mari Kita Membaca and PNSB. Generous individuals have also assisted the project.
I have personally witnessed the difference the project has made in the challenging community of Desa Mentari.
However in order to be sustainable the project needs to broaden its donor and volunteer base and is seeking new donations and volunteers. It would be unfortunate if this project that has benefited over 200 students since it was established cannot continue due to a lack of resources. The project needs RM84,000 a year to pay full time teachers, rent and utilities and run activities.
To find out more, please go to their website http://www.mentariproject.com.
Ultimately, education provides the best opportunity to change the community.