This year we decided to give the Gift of Sight. So far this project has two branches
– used or donated spectacles for the people of Myanmar;
– eye tests and prescription glasses for the least privileged school children on Langkawi.
The spectacles for Myanmar project has come about through our link with a remarkable lady: traveller and author Judyth Gregory-Smith. Her link with Myanmar dates back to 1987 when she first visited what was then called Burma with her husband Richard. They had planned to return, but sadly Richard died in 2001. Since then Judyth has been a regular visitor to Myanmar, and her travels have given her insights into that country’s rich culture and helped her to overcome her loss. When she goes she takes with her as many pairs of glasses as she can collect. In a recent talk to RCL she described the joy recipients feel when they try on their ‘new’ glasses and see so much more; details and colours that failing eyesight had become unable to sense. Their new sight aid lit up a world that had been gradually getting dimmer.
On 18 April 2017 President David says: “Judyth Gregory-Smith sent me these delightful pics from a very remote village (Nyaung Pin Zauk) in Myanmar. The photos are of recipients of the spectacles donated by RCL Gifts of Sight project. A spectacular job very well done. Congratulations Judyth….you are a legend!”
and then after the golf a sumptuous BBQ dinner at the Westin:
See coverage of the event by Chad Merchant in Expat Group’s “Senses” Magazine:
Supporting Tuba Island School
We decided to “adopt” Tuba Secondary School in September 2013. Why Tuba school? Although the small island of Tuba is just a 20 minute boat ride from Kuah (the main town on Langkawi), in some ways it is a world apart. There is limited tourism and the main activity is fishing. This makes it a charming place to visit, but also means that the average family income is low. Most of the children on Tuba have had little exposure to the world outside, and their employment prospects on the island are very limited. The members of RCL decided that they wanted to support the school in trying to improve those prospects, especially by encouraging students to use the English which they are learning.
As a first step we provided dictionaries, and when it came to handing these over to the school we enlisted the help of the prestigious MARA Junior Science College, Langkawi. We got more than we asked for; one of the MRSM students gave an excellent motivational session around the theme “ It’s cool to stay in school”. At the same time we created an essay competition entitled “Living on Tuba” with cash prizes. Some of the 57 entries showed originality and creativity and the prizes were well earned.
In April 2014, Rotarians Julie and Marcel, together with Jackson from an Australian Rotary youth club, assisted the school with an English Acitivities Day. This involved parents, teachers and students in dynamic interactive activities to encourage speaking, reading and writing in English. From April onwards, at the request of the school, Julie has visited once a month to give the students practice with a native English speaker, making their studies more meaningful.
On 22 May 2014, Langkawi District Education Office officially launched “Waves of English 2014” at the LADA Auditorium. The
launch was officiated by Dato’ Ir. Haji Nawawi Bin Haji Ahmad – a Langkawi member of parliament. Due to our commitment to Tuba School we were invited to set up a booth to illustrate our activities in the school. “Waves” aims to create an awareness of the importance of English; to improve students’ English Language proficiency with back to basics programmes; to promote the environment for fun learning of English; to provide support for teachers; and to promote sharing of best practices and materials. Rtns Julie, Gerard and Preethi staffed our booth at the event.
In August 2014, RCL was presented with an award and a certificate of recognition by the Ministry of Education (District) for our involvement in SMK Tuba. About 50 people turned up for this meeting and buffet at the Frangipani Hotel. including Assistant Governor BH Lee of RC Kulim and Past President and Past Assistant Governor Mr Ronnie Tan of RC Tanjung Bungah. President Hery gave an overview of the future plans of the club.
As the result of a casual conversation between President Hery and a teacher from the Garden International School (GIS), KL, some 11 boxes of used library books were donated by GIS to supplement the sparse stock in Tuba School library. With the help AG BH Lee and Rtn Sunil, the books were transported from KL to Sunil’s shop in Langkawi. Rtn Raksha and Hon Rtn Mirinda selected the books that were appropriate, and they were delivered to Tuba School by Rtns Julie, Marcel, and Preethi. Hon Rtn Mirinda, School Improvement Specialist Coach in English, has in-depth knowledge of Langkawi educational issues, and has played an important supportive role in Julie’s monthly visit to Tuba School.
Our latest initiative, a Day Camp for the students, came to fruition on 19 November 2014. This combined a fun day out and an educational visit to the UKM/PPL Research Centre, near Telaga on Langkawi. The researchers this centre of excellence study the geological heritage and landscape, the biology and marine heritage, the cultural heritage and local traditions, and environmental issues. Following a visit to their impressive gallery (which is open to the public) experts gave the students presentations on the biodiversity of Langkawi, appreciating the oldest rock formation in Malaysia, knowing your heritage in Langkawi. and loving our rivers. After the formal learning sessions there was an art workshop during which the students designed posters exhorting the public to keep Langkawi clean and to protect the Geopark. Those posters will be judged at the next meeting of RCL and prizes will be awarded. In the afternoon, staff, students, and Rotarians visited the 7 Wells Waterfall for exercise, fresh air, and fellowship. Back at UKM afterwards there were presentations of gifts and certificates to staff and teachers in appreciation of their work with the students, and certificates to the students. After group photos, the students went back home on the bus and ferry arranged by RCL. A good time was had by all, as you can tell from the photos below:
You can see some examples of the posters created by the students during their visit to UKM by clicking Posters
Annual Mangrove Clean Up Day ( 15th March 2014, 3 Oct 2015, 2016, 2017, etc etc )
After a long wait, meticulous planning and working with other agencies we executed our biggest project ever. The cleaning up of the Kilim Kast River. We had an overwhelming response from over 1200 local volunteers who went on boats and picked up rubbish all along the Kilim River. We collected about 4 tons of waste! It was a hot day but most satisfying. This will be our signature project which we will execute every year. Your donations towards this cause are much appreciated!
photos courtesy of FLAGG
Military Community Volunteer Day ( April )
Children from As Salam orphanage visited Langkawi’s naval base and was given a basic medical check up. They were then treated to a tour of the base on a boat. This project was organised by Rotarian Captain Dr. Gerard.
Rice and Shoes Distribution to needy families (July)
In partnership with the Saibaba Centre, members of RCL distributed shoes and soya rice packets to needy families.
Co Hosting ( July )
We co-hosted an International exchange student. Ms Laura from Germany stayed with Rotarians Hery and Ken . She was shown island hospitality , Langkawi style by members of our club.
New clothes for Hari Raya ( August )
We bought new clothes for the children of As- Salam orphanage before Hari Raya. The funds came from contributions made by our club members.
Dictionaries and Essay Writing Competition ( Sept 28th and Oct 30th )
Together with very able students from MRSM Langkawi we visited a secondary school on Tuba Island. The students from MRSM gave a motivational talk on how important it is to stay in school. They thenreceived Malay – English dictionaries from our club.
The students then took part in an essay writing competition entilted “Living on Tuba Island”. The winner, first runner-up and second runner-up each received RM100, RM75 and RM50 prize money respectively.
Fund raising for Typhoon Haiyan and Family Fun Day ( December )
We held a family fun day to raise funds to help survivors of tyhoon Haiyan. We had a Zumba session for the adults, in line skating , skipping rope demonstration, aikido taster and in line skating for the children.