“5 years ago, I came from Pakistan as a refugee, and have been a refugee for 5 years. I knew that as a refugee, we are not welcomed, our rights are being denied, so I thought to myself that I want to help, I want to contribute, and so I decided to volunteer here at IDEAS Academy, a secondary learning centre for underprivileged children, including those who are refugees, stateless and undocumented
It was a very small team at that time, and the old principal, she’s from Australia, she was just sleeping on the dirty floor here, she also away from her home, the classroom was very small, when I saw this, I felt like I wanted to contribute, I wanted to be a part of it and I decided to volunteer here.
I remember last time we were not getting enough funds. It was a sad moment for me because we were only getting RM300 for the month, but we had students coming in – it was really depressing.
And do you know that children actually have their own depressing moments at home that we don’t know of too? Here, they get to learn, they get to play with each other, and they are happy and content. So when I see the happiness on their faces, and the things we’ve created here, that’s that happiest moment for me.
I believe that when you start to give out rights, you will get your rights. If you can’t even attend a charity, then what is it will come to you? If you do the same thing, it will come to you. So I thought, for their rights, and myself being a refugee, I want to help – that is my ambition here”.
Photostory by Samantha Siow
Edited by Mushamir Mustafa
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(This post was first published on March 14th 2019)