Malaysia Projects

Highlights of community transformation programme in Malaysia

Lydia – serving in Sabah

By Lydia Lee
World Vision Malaysia

My name is Lydia and I am responsible to initiate and oversee World Vision Malaysia (WVM) community development programmes (CDPs) in Sabah, provide direction for the growth of CDPs in Malaysia, capacity building of local staff, engage with stakeholders and explore partnering opportunities, collaborate with like-minded organisations and am one of the spokespersons for the media.

Before embarking on implementing any transformational community development programme with an aim towards a community’ self-sustainability, relationships and trust must be built with the community. The initial phase in starting in Tulid CDP starting from October 2011 was tough – no one in the area has heard of World Vision, WVM had no past track record in Sabah, the communities had limited engagement with NGOs. In one of the villages, some leaders actually thought I was from a new political party when they saw my orange World Vision shirt.

A lot of hard work and sacrifice was made, achievements were slow to come by (for example, it took one whole year of generally working alone in Sabah throughout 2012, before we had the first two Sabahan co-workers, and later on more Sabahan staff as field facilitators), plans can be suddenly thwarted by unexpected, unannounced events (such as the 13th General Elections and the Sulu crisis in 2013 when we planned to facilitate a series of participatory programme design workshops in several clusters of villages).

Personal life is usually at the backburner as a high degree of flexibility is needed to shuttle between West and East Malaysia to accommodate stakeholders’ timing. In spite of having the ‘best laid plans’, community development work in Sabah inevitably takes priority over other commitments, resulting in feelings of guilt from bailing on commitments to my husband, family and friends, or simply not committing to events and gatherings for fear causing disappointment later. Nevertheless, I am grateful that they continue to be supportive and I hope to do better in the area of being a good wife, daughter and friend.

I am touched by the care and hospitability of the community in Sabah and also a partner NGO, Good Shepherd Services when I first started working in Sabah. They took me in as one of them, allowed me to join them in their day-to-day activities even though I had zero farming knowledge – unable to chop trees and slow in moving tree trunks to clear lands for planting, slow in harvesting paddy and unable to distinguish edible and non-edible wild vegetables.

During the early, relationship-building period I got to know the community better. Through spending more time with the community, they opened up when they share their thoughts. Mothers, fathers and youths share their dreams and struggles. People really desire to do something to improve their condition, but lack the opportunities.

Successes are – when you are able to witness for yourself that children have shown increased confidence and motivation to learn, when field staff increase in their capacity, confidence and commitment, when a community showed initiative, motivation and ownership in setting set up their own pre-school in their village for their children’s well-being. Parents are willing to sacrifice for their children’s future. After seeing improvement in their children, parents are motivated to be good role models, even to the extent of changing their old habits for the sake of their children.

Last year, we responded to the floods in Kelantan. It was WVM’s first local disaster response. I was responsible for the relief and rehabilitation work among the orang asli communities in Gua Musang. It was a steep learning curve, I was further stretched to juggle a precious resource, i.e. time, in working in three locations – Sabah, Kelantan and Selangor.

The amazing grace of God, even though I do not have the ability to teleport or to be omnipresent (my occasional wishful thinking and outrageous daydream), God had protected me from major physical injury caused by accidents, and I have been safe from any serious harm that may have happened to a female staying alone in a village(s).

Throughout my time in World Vision Malaysia, I grew in my relationship with Jesus Christ. It is in times of struggle, uncertainty and knowing you are not able to do things with your own strength that leads you to a deeper dependence on God. When I was nearing the brink of burn-out after expending physical and mental energy throughout two months without a break, He brought forth renewal, sustained me from simply giving up and reminded me that He is my source of strength and hope.

He has also provided help in the form of people – people who are really committed to serve by availing themselves to be full time staff. I am very grateful for everyone I work with, for without such committed people giving their lives to do this work, we would not have gone very far.

What keeps me motivated? Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”  These words drive me to focus and do my best in every circumstance, that ultimately what I do will be pleasing to God.

Lydia Lee currently serves in World Vision Malaysia under the Malaysian Programmes team as a Manager.

回顾沙巴土立社区的蜕变

一颗种子的萌芽

马来西亚世界宣明会推动土立(Tulid)社区发展计划的目的是要支援沙巴州贫困社区的迫切需要。在我们的合作伙伴善牧社会福利基金会(Good Shepherd Services, 前称Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd)的协助之下,长期驻守沙巴的马来西亚世界宣明会团队已经推行了各种项目,以解决沙巴孩童在教育、健康和保护儿童措施方面的需求。经过两年时间的评估、资料搜集和社区探访,这项社区发展计划正式于2014年开始启动。

土立社区自那时候起开始慢慢有了变化,希望的种子也渐渐茁壮成长。

见证社区转型

2015年8月,马来西亚世界宣明会执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕、理事会主席钟和娇、理事会成员孙添灵及赵秋霞探访了土立社区发展计划,见证社区如何在短短几年间发生转变。这趟行程当中,我们探访了土立地区的三个甘榜,并且有机会观看到世界宣明会在Simbuan甘榜举办的第二届12岁以下儿童足球赛。

WVM CEO Dato Ir. K J Abraham with the children of Mukim Tulid. 马来西亚世界宣明会执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕与土立社区的孩童合影。
Photo caption: 马来西亚世界宣明会执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕与土立社区的孩童合影。

在2014年之前,任何来到土立探访的人都会看见这个社区在各方面的不足。然而今天我们很欣慰地看到了这里许多鼓舞人心的改善。

鼓励学习之爱

此次行程非常紧凑。众人到访土立社区当天,首先是由马来西亚世界宣明会本地发展计划经理李珊珊为大家介绍这项事工的情况。珊珊是土立事工团队的主要成员,也是这个团队的灵魂人物。其后,我们探访了社区里的一间小学、一个家庭和一间幼儿园。

我们的第一站是Kabatang Baru小学,马来西亚世界宣明会和这所学校合作推动了多个项目。该学校的师生感谢世界宣明会所给予的援助。世界宣明会支援学校重新修建了图书馆,使其焕然一新。图书馆增添了色彩明亮的书架和各种类型的书籍。社区里的家长和考完UPSR的学生们前来一起建造书架和涂漆。其后,世界宣明会供应了许多教育类书籍,以启迪孩子们的智慧与心灵。

The WVM visiting team and volunteers met the students of a pre-school in Mukim Tulid. 马来西亚世界宣明会探访团和志工们与土立社区一所幼儿园的学童们相见。
Photo caption: 马来西亚世界宣明会探访团和志工们与土立社区一所幼儿园的学童们相见。

世界宣明会也很关注孩子们的健康。为了提高学生们的健康意识,我们资助学校建造盥洗槽,以鼓励学生维持正确的洗手习惯。在盥洗槽上,张贴了一份由卫生部贡献的洗手指南。最后,我们在探访的幼儿园,与25个天真无邪的学童见面。他们面对镜头和镁光灯时,一点都不害羞,且大方欢乐地摆出姿势。世界宣明会同工在幼儿园的其中一面墙上彩绘了一幅以大自然为主题的优美壁画。

A mural at a pre-school painted by WVM staff. 马来西亚世界宣明会同仁为一所幼儿园绘制了一幅壁画。Photo caption: 马来西亚世界宣明会同仁为一所幼儿园绘制了一幅壁画。

Pius和家人对孩子的教育非常热心。Pius有五个孩子,他详尽地道说世界宣明会如何尽全力地导引家长们意识到自己在孩子们的未来扮演重要角色。他很感激世界宣明会同工,自从世界宣明会启动了社区发展事工之后,对当地的孩子带来了明显的变化。他的儿子Oswald在2014年的UPSR检定考试中考获4A1B的佳绩。他说:「教育是无法用其他东西取代的资产。」孙添灵先生也同意Pius的说法,他认为:「教育是促成进步与成长的关键,而这个社区的家长们已经看到了教育的重要性。」

马来西亚民众透过世界宣明会的「希望之礼」活动,慷慨捐赠了教学器材和学习用品给土立社区。Kawakaan小学不但是土立最杰出的学校,也是根地咬县的杰出学校*,23位参加UPSR检定考试的学生中,有10位考得全A成绩,这所学校也创下了95.7%的及格率。

Kawakaan小学的副校长Gibin Gansayak笃定地说:「世界宣明会赠送的作业簿帮助提升了我们学生的成绩,特别是那些就读六年级的学生。」来自马来西亚全国各地的支持者的爱心,给了孩子一个丰盛且充满希望的未来。

*数据由沙巴根地咬教育厅提供

社区的团结精神

我们也探访了Mokotong甘榜,这里的居民在社区代表Sainggun的领导之下,建立了他们自己的幼儿园和社区中心。马来西亚世界宣明会供应了建筑所需的材料,居民通力合作把这居所建立起来。值得一提的是,村民是在世界宣明会召开的会议中拟出了设计图,更有两位村民自荐担任幼儿园的老师。两位老师也被安排到善牧社会福利基金会接受培训。

Building Gotong Royong: Community leader En. Sainggun briefs (from left) WVM Board member Gary Soon, WVM Malaysian Programmes manager Lydia Lee, WVM CEO Dato’ Ir. K J Abraham and WVM Board member Dorothy Teoh on the building of the preschool cum community centre. 社区领袖Sainggun(左)正在向马来西亚世界宣明会理事会成员孙添灵、本地发展计划经理李珊珊、执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕及理事会成员赵秋霞讲解有关建立幼儿园校舍和社区中心的详情。Photo caption: 社区领袖Sainggun(左)正在向马来西亚世界宣明会理事会成员孙添灵、本地发展计划经理李珊珊、执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕及理事会成员赵秋霞讲解有关建立幼儿园校舍和社区中心的详情。

马来西亚世界宣明会理事会成员赵秋霞说道:「居民们的投入与付出真的是非常感人。他们主动参与这项幼儿园计划有助于确保社区发展的永续性。他们或许拥有的东西不多,但他们献出了宝贵的时间和愿意亲手去建造。」

理事会主席钟和娇也说道:「看到居民们一起来建造这所幼儿园,真是让我们深受鼓舞,也让我们更可以预见未来的许多可能性。」

在此,我们也要特别感谢合作伙伴善牧社会福利基金会长期以来的配合,为我们和社区打下了重要的合作基础,这份支持非常可观。若没有他们,我们或许就无法达至今天的成就。

**幼儿园与社区中心已经完工,并于2015年11月27日启用。

迎向目标

探访当天的其中一个亮点是我们有机会在Simbuan甘榜观看到12岁以下儿童足球赛。即使是在沙巴如此偏僻的地方,足球依旧是许多人着迷不已的运动,而这也是推广儿童健康与营养的绝佳媒介。此外,足球运动也能够缔结社区民众关系以及为孩子们提供一个安全的完乐与成长的环境。

The U-12 Football League was full of thrills and spills. 12岁以下儿童足球比赛洋溢着汗水、热情与欢笑。Photo caption: 12岁以下儿童足球比赛洋溢着汗水、热情与欢笑。

主场村庄派出的A队成功超越来自其他四个村庄的队伍,并赢得比赛。经过了一场紧张刺激的赛事,社区居民和马来西亚世界宣明会团队进行了一场轻松的椰子保龄球赛。这场谐趣的赛事在当天带来了许多的欢笑和乐趣。

跃进与起飞

总而言之,自2012年以来,土立社区发展计划迅速稳定地成长。拿督亚伯拉罕回想此次探访时说道:「我深受鼓舞,我看见各方面都获得正面的改善。我也探访了一些家庭,与家长们会面。」马来西亚世界宣明会在土立推行的计划如此趋向稳定,相信也能够为这个社区带来长远及恒久的变化与发展。

GirlsPhoto caption: 孩子们根据接收到的指示来进行分组。粉红力量不容小觑!

当我们问到李珊珊对这项计划有什么感想,她微笑着说:「土立的现况彰显了上帝的恩典与信实。祂安排我们来到这里,透过我们把祂的爱传出去。」是的,我们最要感谢神看顾着沙巴土立的发展,以及未来很多很多年的变化与成长。

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Stories of a Malaysian community transformed

How it all began

World Vision Malaysia’s Tulid Community Development Programme (CDP) was born as a response to the pressing needs of the poor in Sabah. With the help of local partner Good Shepherd Services (formerly Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd), our dedicated and passionate WVM team in Sabah set into motion a programme that would address the needs of Sabah’s children in Education, Health and Child Protection. Two years of thorough assessment, research and gruelling legwork later, the CDP officially started operations in 2014.

And signs of change are increasing by the day.

Seeing the transformation firsthand

In August 2015, World Vision Malaysia CEO Dato’ Ir. K J Abraham, Board Chair Ms. Catherine Choong and Board of Trustees members Ms. Dorothy Teoh and Mr. Gary Soon paid a visit to the Tulid CDP to witness how the community had changed in just a few short years. The group visited three villages in Mukim Tulid and even had the opportunity to watch the second annual Under-12 Football League in Kg. Simbuan.

WVM CEO Dato Ir. K J Abraham with the children of Mukim Tulid. 马来西亚世界宣明会执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕与土立社区的孩童合影。
Photo caption: WVM CEO Dato Ir. K J Abraham with the children of Mukim Tulid.

Prior to 2014, any visitor to Mukim Tulid would find a community marked by great need. But today, we have many heartwarming accounts of a community being transformed for the better.

Nurturing the love of learning

The visit kicked off with a briefing by WVM Malaysian Programmes Manager Lydia Lee, who has been a key member of the CDP team since the start. The group’s itinerary was packed to the brim, with a visit to the site of WVM’s beginnings in Sabah, a tour of a primary school, a family visit, and a trip to a pre-school.

The first stop was SK Kabatang Baru, a primary school WVM has been partnering with on various projects. They were filled with great appreciation for WVM’s help and support, which was plainly visible everywhere you looked.  In particular, SK Kabatang Baru’s library was truly a sight to behold, with brightly-coloured wooden shelves heavily laden with books of all kinds. A true community effort, parents and students who had finished their UPSR examinations came together to build and paint the shelves. Then, WVM lined them with educational books, a true treasure trove for young minds.

The WVM visiting team and volunteers met the students of a pre-school in Mukim Tulid. 马来西亚世界宣明会探访团和志工们与土立社区一所幼儿园的学童们相见。
Photo caption: The WVM visiting team and volunteers met the students of a pre-school in Mukim Tulid.

With an eye on health, WVM sponsored a sink project in the school to encourage students to wash their hands properly. An illustrated hand-washing guide has pride of place above the sink, a contribution from the Health Department. The visit concluded with a tour of the pre-school, where 25 bright-eyed students greeted the visitors and joyfully posed for the clicking cameras. A beautiful nature-themed mural painted by WVM staff covers one of the walls, a vibrant and colourful reminder of our service in the community.

A mural at a pre-school painted by WVM staff. 马来西亚世界宣明会同仁为一所幼儿园绘制了一幅壁画。Photo caption: A mural at a pre-school painted by WVM staff.

Typical of the growing enthusiasm for education in Mukim Tulid was Mr. Pius and his family. Pius, a father of six, spoke eloquently about how WVM had raised awareness among parents about their role in their children’s future. As he thanked the staff, Pius spoke about the visible difference in Maatol’s children ever since WVM began its efforts in the area. He might have been thinking about his own son, Oswald—who scored 4 A’s and 1 B in the 2014 UPSR examinations—when he said, “Education is an inheritance that cannot be replaced.” Mr. Gary Soon echoed Pius’ sentiment, saying that “education is the link to progress, and parents are seeing that.”

The generosity of caring Malaysians has certainly made a huge impact on education in Tulid, in particular through the learning resources donated via World Vision’s Gifts of Hope programme. Sekolah Kebangsaan Kawakaan is the top school not only in Mukim Tulid, but in the district of Keningau!*, with 10 out of 23 students achieving straight As and 95.7% of students passing the 2015 UPSR national exams.

SK Kawakaan Penolong Kanan Cikgu Gibin Gansayak affirmed, “World Vision’s gift of school workbooks has helped improve our students’ grades, especially those in Standard Six.”  Indeed, the big hearts of our supporters across Malaysia are giving children here hope of a future free of poverty and need.

*Statistics provided by Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah Keningau Sabah

The spirit of community

Next on the itinerary was a visit to Kg. Mokotog, where community members led by Wakil Ketua Anak Negeri (WKAN) En. Sainggun were building their own pre-school-cum-community centre gotong-royong style with materials provided by WVM**. In the spirit of cooperation, everyone in the community had a role to play. The building was designed by the villagers themselves during meetings organised by World Vision. Two community members stepped up to become future pre-school teachers and received training from Pendidikan PraSekolah SIB, WVM’s close partner in Sabah.

Building Gotong Royong: Community leader En. Sainggun briefs (from left) WVM Board member Gary Soon, WVM Malaysian Programmes manager Lydia Lee, WVM CEO Dato’ Ir. K J Abraham and WVM Board member Dorothy Teoh on the building of the preschool cum community centre. 社区领袖Sainggun(左)正在向马来西亚世界宣明会理事会成员孙添灵、本地发展计划经理李珊珊、执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕及理事会成员赵秋霞讲解有关建立幼儿园校舍和社区中心的详情。Photo caption: Community leader En. Sainggun briefs (from left) WVM Board member Gary Soon, WVM Malaysian Programmes manager Lydia Lee, WVM CEO Dato’ Ir. K J Abraham and WVM Board member Dorothy Teoh on the building of the preschool cum community centre

Board member Ms. Dorothy Teoh was inspired by what she saw. “The communities’ response and involvement was very heartening. The fact that they’ve taken ownership of the pre-school project will help ensure its sustainability. They may not have much but they gave what they had – their hands and their time.”

Board Chair Ms. Catherine Choong sums it up, “Seeing the community come together to build the pre-school building was such an encouragement, and a prequel to future possibilities.”

The partnership of GSS was critical in helping us make inroads into Tulid and build lasting relationships with community members. We could not have achieved so much without their support.

**The pre-school and community centre was completed and opened on 27 November 2015.

Going for the goal

One of the highlights of the visit was an afternoon spent watching the Under-12 Football League in Kg. Simbuan. Even in rural Sabah, football is an obsession like no other sport, which makes it a perfect platform to promote health and nutrition for children. Besides, football is a great way to bring communities together and give children a safe environment to play and grow.

The U-12 Football League was full of thrills and spills. 12岁以下儿童足球比赛洋溢着汗水、热情与欢笑。Photo caption: The U-12 Football League was full of thrills and spills.

During the League, the hosts’ A-team swept to victory in convincing fashion over four rival villages. After the thrills and spills of the League, community members and the WVM group participated in a relaxed and friendly coconut bowling competition, in which WVM carried off the honours amidst plenty of laughs and cheers.

By leaps and bounds

All in all, Tulid CDP has grown in leaps and bounds since work first began in 2012. Reflecting on the visit, Dato’ Ir. K J Abraham said, “I’m very encouraged, coming here and seeing the possibilities, and meeting the families and parents.” With WVM’s programme now firmly established in the Mukim Tulid district, there is great potential for lasting change and development among communities in the area.

GirlsWhen asked for her thoughts on the programme, Lydia Lee mused, “Tulid is a picture of God’s goodness and faithfulness. He has sent us to show His love in action.” Indeed, we thank God for the progress made in Tulid, Sabah. Here’s to many more years of transformation!

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