The Award Plaque
Recently, we received very pleasant news from our Refugee School, Shelter Community School 1 (SCS1). They have been awarded the “Outstanding Primary Learning Centre” by UNCHR .
Nguk Lim (Person in charge of SCS1, second from right) with Mr Niaz Ahmad (middle), Head of education unit in UNCHR
A brief history of Shelter Community School 1
SCS1 started off with only English Classes in 2006 at a borrowed premise and finally had its own Centre (a rented flat) in 2010. With a humble beginning of only one session of 48 students, one Myanmar teacher and 14 local volunteers, the Centre today holds two sessions with an average of 70-80 students, 7 classes, two Myanmar teachers and 36 local volunteers.
What goes on in SCS1
SCS1 started in 2010 with the Malaysian syllabus provided by UNCHR. Over the years, it has evolved into an American based syllabus as SCS1 seeks to equip and prepare the students to adjust and resettle in America. Under the English component, they teach English as a Second Language (ESL), Reading, Writing and Language Arts – Literature & Plays. They also cover Science, Mathematics, Social Studies (History, Geography and Cultural Studies) and Character Building. Due to space constraints, the students have only 3 hours of lessons per day. Hence, homework is assigned to supplement the constraint. To encourage reading, the students are required to complete at least one
a book review per week.
In the afternoons, co-curricular activities are offered on different days i.e. Sewing, Cooking, Music, Carpentry and Breakdance.
Recently, SCS1 staged a concert entitled “HISTORY ALIVE”. In it were 4 mini plays covering a range of historical events from different ancient civilizations. It promotes an interactive and creative approach to learning History, Language Arts and Visual Arts whilst training the students to perform in front of public audience. (You may refer to the full article on this at our webpage, under “Shelter’s News”, titled: "History IS Alive!" .
The whole of SCS1 bowing in front of audiences after the concert
During the 2014 World Cup, they transformed the school into “Brazil” and did a six-week module culminating in FIFA FIESTA 2014. Every subject revolved around the World Cup. The classes were fun that no one wanted to miss school. During that period, SCS1 swept 2 Gold and 1 Silver Cups at the Faisal Cup Tournament (an annual football tournament among refugee schools). The students were also taken for educational trips to Aquaria KLCC, Zoo Negara, as well as the National Science Centre and Petro-Science. These trips were part of the module on Life Science. As for the module on Tropical Rainforest, students were taken to the Puchong Rainforest and even had the privilege of an Entomologist walking them through. Through the Literature classes and invitation to Plays by Roald Dahl Theatre & Aesop Fables, the students attempted writing skits and presenting plays.
SCS1 transformed into "Brazil" to capitalize on the fever of World Cup to cultivate creative learning. Also in pic, the group of winners showing off their victory cup and medals from the Faisal Cup
The Team behind SCS1
Much of the teaching is done by the dedicated volunteers who are committed weekly to the slots they teach. They are the backbone of the school. Many have been with SCS1 for 3 to 5 years. They feel proud to be on? the team and find fulfilment in the fun-filled learning activities. Receiving periodical news on how well some of their resettled students fare in their new schools keeps the team going. This year, 10 of the volunteers worked hard in a one-year teacher training course kindly offered by an American teacher. Most of the volunteers who come from all walks of life are home-makers with grown-up children. In recent years, they have a few retired men - who are helpful male-models to the teenage boys. Occasionally, they take college students during their semester breaks.
The 36 volunteers might seem a big number but most of them can only commit one to two hours per week. However, a total of 82 hours per week is required to run all classes and co-curricular activities (the students should spend 4-5 hours a day in school). Due to space constraints and shortage of volunteers, they can only spend 2 to 3 hours per day.
The Amazing SCS1 Team!
Some words to the supporters from the PIC of SCS1, Nguk Lim
“Thank you”, though only two small words, hold so much meaning to us. SCS1 will not be where it is today without the support of every individual. While the teachers and volunteers labour and persevere in the “field”, we are aware that behind the scene is a team of equally important individuals who complement the work with resources and funds. We thank God for this ‘awesome teamwork’ and it is our sincere prayer that God will bestow upon both our volunteers and supporters His blessings!