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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