A paradoxical oxymoron?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Check this out!
taken from nst.

Community projects make life better for 840 families
01 Sep 2006
Shamini Darshni

KUALA LUMPUR: I want to be a thief. That’s what a nine-year-old boy said when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up He thought it was an easy way to make a living.

But that was a month ago, before he met a "big sister" through a community outreach programme in Taman Prima Selayang.

He has since passed a note to the "big sister", with the message: "Thank you, my teacher."

And the Government is interested in how this change came about.

The boy is part of a mentoring programme for children which teaches creative writing and drawing. It is run by Sidang Injil Borneo Kuala Lumpur (SIBKL).

Dropping out of school and poor academic performance are prevalent in this community of 840 low-income families in Selayang. Fighting, theft, alcoholism and gangsterism are among the major problems here.

Residents are scared to step out of their homes at night for fear of being mugged.

"Now we can come out at nine or 10 at night and still feel safe," said Rafar Ahmad, chairman of the Residents’ Association.

This is partly due to the SIBKL and the Foundation for Community Studies and Development, which have implemented various programmes over the past four years, addressing issues of housing, education, services and infrastructure in this community.

The programmes include English classes for children and adults, tuition classes, self-esteem enhancement programmes and personal development talks and activities such as camping.

The work that has been done to turn around the lives of these families around has been such a success that the Government wants to study it for the "My Neighbour, My Family" (Jiranku, Keluargaku) programme, to be launched later this month.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili said the Selayang programme would be used as a case study.

On the "My Neighbour, My Family", Ongkili said: "We want to go deeper. We want to know how neighbours can work together to improve themselves economically, apart from the normal muhibbah programmes. We want to help them organise themselves so they can improve their lives in the neighbourhood."

The focus of the government-spearheaded programme would be on solving unemployment, education, introducing life-long learning programmes, tackling drug abuse and other social ills.

"Tackling these issues would require the participation of residents’ associations and non-governmental organisations."

Ongkili said to tackle crime, several measures could be put in place, including a reporting system using SMS, installing CCTVs and having neighbourhood patrols.

"When we put together all these things, we can drastically reduce crime. Keep in mind that some crimes happen because the community allows it to take place because we are careless. So this programme needs to include education, policing and an information system both for the police and for the people.

"It goes beyond asking the neighbour to take care of your house or feed the cat while you are away."

The "My Neighbour, My Family" programme, he added, would help with ethnic relations — first from neighbour to neighbour, then to the entire neighbourhood, then from district to district and later from State to State.

"Now, when we talk about neighbours, we are not talking about the person next door but the community at large."

p/s: be proud to know that even the smallest thing you've done to contribute to this community has made a big difference. Adult or youth(be it from kidzone, narrowstreet or couz).


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