On 19th of April, the Bumblebee of Malaysian CARE engaged with UGL (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd—a global diversified services company— on a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Sri Semarak, Air Panas in Kuala Lumpur from 3 to 5 PM.
Officially launched in February 2013, the Bumblebee is a mobile community resource centre, offering residents of low-cost housing areas with resources like books, toys, game sets and, sports equipment, and development programs. Having started with some 700 books, Bumblebee now boasts of over a thousand books to offer children. Church volunteers were also trained for at least two hours by Malaysian CARE to run various programs including fun with toys, educational board games, literacy, sports, and social activities.
‘Bumblebee’ can be immediately spotted for its bright yellow color, having visited 12 low-cost areas to-date, including Kapar, Jenjarum, Puchong, Kepong, Air Panas, Sungai Besi, Ampang, Kelana Jaya, Taman Cempaka, Cheras, Seremban, and Chenderiang.
Leong Soon Chong, the project coordinator who started Bumblebee together with other CARE staff like Ooi Kiah Hui and Pauline Wong—shared how Bumblebee was birthed from a pilot test of a short-term toy library in Kayu Ara for children with special needs, which saw a 100 percent attendance from parents in every event for half a year. This encouraging result affirmed that the need for a local resource center was high, especially for parents who could not visit the Toy Library in CARE Headquarters due to distance and time constraint. Hence, instead of them visiting, CARE now make their resources available for two hours on each visit, at the community’s doorstep through Bumblebee.
“In Malaysian CARE, one of our core values is to display Christ to all people irrespective of religion and race. We try our best to be there for the community,” said Leong Soon Chong.
Having a mobile truck also allow CARE to engage more churches in this work, especially for churches that already have established community services in poor areas. Over 200 volunteers from 20 churches are participating regularly in the Bumblebee project, which run almost every week with church volunteers.
The ultimate goal of Bumblebee is to serve as a launch platform to help churches offer a more permanent, regular, and localized service to their communities, shared Leong Hap Choy, acting assistant director for the Rural and Urban Community Development of Malaysian CARE.
For this particular Bumblebee project in Sri Semarak, Hope EFC is the church partner offering community service.
Elder of Hope EFC David Tan shared how Bumblebee was an attractive community project, which added to their existing community service for the Semarak residents. For the past 10 years, Hope EFC has been offering English tuition classes to the poor community there, which has now turned into a library. With Bumblebee in the community now, they find that the recruitment for their library has improved due to increased awareness of their presence. This partnership with Bumblebee has empowered him to serve the poor children better.
“It has given a very important rallying point because there’s only this much a church can do. But when you bring over facilities like that with the library, we find that it attracts more people,” said David Tan. “People would make request for Bumblebee to come because they see it as a valuable entity.”
“This truck is specially designed. We wanted to have one main entrance to reduce monitoring,” said Leong. “We also need a stage for children to climb up. Not many children are given a chance to climb up a truck and it’s something exciting for them.”
A young boy, Evan Foong, also shared why he loved the Bumblebee, “I like the books most, magazines like National Geographic; they talked about animals, countries, different things, and places.” He also enjoyed playing Frisbee with the children staying in that area.
Indeed, seeing the children play and learn together regardless of race brought the most joy to the staff and volunteers of Bumblebee. “It touched my heart to see how young children don’t differentiate by skin color,” quipped Leong Hap Choy.
Hence, look out for Bumblebee in your community!
If you would like Malaysian CARE to send Bumblebee to thecommunity that your church is serving, contact SC Leong at 016-6027-127 or email email@example.com