26 June 2014 by Donna Uning CM –
We walked in to smiling faces and the exhausting, endless drive on the unfamiliar road was nothing in comparison. The smiles and laughter of the children at the D’wira Educational Center were heard from outside as visitors from Underground Leadership Academy walked around with goodies from Sweden.
It was one of the stops the group made to the Center.
According to Ps Neduncheliyan Adaikalam, they moved in the new residence just over a year ago. The center has been running since 2010. Currently with about 70 students, the two-story detached house cum school has students from pre-school and seven to 15-year olds. Classes go on two sessions, morning at 7 am to 12:15 pm and afternoon at 2 to 4 pm.
The school serves the low-wage-earning families in Kuching. Many of the students have no birth certificates, others dropped out of school and some never went to school. According to their school statement, “It is our desire to provide them quality education to break the cycle of poverty.”
“We help these children get documentation and into government schools,” said Ps Neduncheliyan. The school uses the Montessori approach as well as regular school curriculum accordingly.
Their Swedish guests performed different dances from their diverse cultures from the Middle East and Europe. Apart from that, the students also get some educational information about Sweden. Some of the students at D’wira also performed Malaysian dances.
“We have dance lessons an hour a week,” said teacher, Dora. She also teaches drama and her students get to act and present their craft every Thursday. Sports and creative arts, including dance and drama, become a regular part of their curriculum. This year, D’wira also added computer lessons and a science lab.
“I’ll be driving the children home after school,” the pastor continued, preparing the van to leave. He and some others pick and drive the children to school from Tabuan Ulu, Desa Wira and Stapok area. 16 of the students come from another settlement 12km away from the school.
The teachers are well trained, attending skill courses twice a year. They also double up as drivers and cooks at D’wira. The school welcomes volunteers.
Before the students leave, their Swedish guests played games and sing along. The group from Underground Leadership Academy, Jönköping, Sweden was led by their director Peter Magnusson. The principal of D’wira is Jap Siew Moi. D’wira is located at 99 Sky Garden, Stapok, Kuching.
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