Program Outreach – Tasik Cini
Program Outreach Pendidikan Khas & Lawatan Kerja Menangani Isu Pendidikan Anak-anak Orang Asli di Chini, Pekan, Pahang (18 -23 September 2006)The Dyslexia Association together with National Autism Society of Malaysia and the Association for Down Syndrome were the 3 NGOs invited for this Outreach Program. Basically, we are requested to assist the Pendidikan Khas by screening the Anak-anak Orang Asli for Learning Disabilities. All in all there were more than 80 personnel involved in this exercise.
Pn Sariah and I stayed one week at the Kuarters Institut Pendidikan (KIP) Chini. After breakfast each day, we travelled another 45 minutes to SK Runcang (Orang Asli school) to do the Screening.
We would wrap up each day at around 6.30pm and head on back to the Quarters for dinner. After dinner every night up, there would be meetings held at 9pm (up till midnight on one night) to sum up the events for the day.
There were 151 children from 3 schools who were brought in by military trucks for their screening. There were also a few walk-ins from different schools who heard about this program. There were local visitors to the exhibition hall where we had our Display. Thankfully, we had Encik Nawi (President of Pahang Dyslexia Foundation) and his daughter , Intan who assisted us in the Exhibition Hall by manning our counter and answering the enquiries. They assisted us also in getting all the daily reports typed out for submission to the Pendidikan Khas Co-ordinators.
The 151 children brought in were screened by the Pendidikan Khas using their Screening Tests. Out of this 151, 32 were handed over to us for the Dyslexia Screening. 26 were screened to be showing symptoms of Dyslexia, 3 were slow learners, one non-dyslexic and 2 were not screened due to insufficient time. It was a real experience screening these children as they were all rather puny for their age and Bahasa Malaysia is not their mother tongue . It was also noted that some of these children could well do with a bath to reduce their native body odour.
Once confirmed by us, these children were sent for diagnosis to the Medical doctor for certification. Once certified, the Welfare personnel were there to register them for their Welfare Cards (or OKU – Orang Kurang Upaya). Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) was also there to assist the Orang Asli to open their Bank accounts so that they can get their RM25 monthly allowance. Birth Registration was also done for the Orang Asli as there were a couple of Orang Asli who had no identities. There was one man over 40 registering for his identity card. There were also children who never had birth certificates.
The closing ceremony was officiated by our Deputy Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak. The Minister of Education YB Dato’ Sri Hishamuddin bin Tun Hussein could not attend the closing ceremony and Dato Komala Devi represented him. There was a big crowd of about 1,000 people who attended this closing ceremony, which started at 9.30am with the crowd ‘pouring’ in. Our Deputy Minister flew in by helicopter at 10am. After mingling with the crowd, the Deputy Minister made his speech to officiate the closing, after which lunch was served.
This trip has been very enlightening,(though hectic and very tiring, not enough sleep), we were glad that we were able to contribute our help in assisting the Orang Asli. I believe this small town have never seen so much excitement before this.
Let’s hope that these special children identified by us will get the necessary help required. Hopefully, there will be a Dyslexia Program started in this area soon.
Report by : Cho Suet Sen
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