Intern #1 Samantha Kaan, A-Levels Student @ Sunway University
I came to GG in April 2016 with the intention of just killing time after my SPM. My mother encouraged me to take up an internship in GG to get some exposure before going on to college. I wasn’t very happy about it because who would want to wake up at 6:30am everyday (I live very far from GG's office) and work 8 hours during your holidays? However, my sister Serena Kaan who was an intern previously, encouraged me by telling me how this internship experience would be an unforgettable one. I doubted her words, but agreed to go.
Interested in working with children, I joined the Children Services team under my mentor Joy. I was warned that the some of the children would have less-than-desirable behaviours due to some of their backgrounds. They come from backgrounds of abuse, abandonment and challenging family circumstances. This made me nervous, but my worries were proven unnecessary because the moment I stepped into the home, I was greeted with a shout of “Kakak! (Big sister)” and a rush of kids running towards me with outstretched arms. Their smiles and laughter immediately brought warmth to my heart. Even though we only spend 3 hours a day, 3 times a week there; I saw how the children were able to experience love and it was great to be able to show them that there were people who cared about them.
Samantha with the group of volunteers at the Cha-Ching Live in Malaysia" session at YTL Home.
Throughout my internship, one of the biggest impact for me was meeting this boy named Joseph. Joseph is a refugee child from Myanmar and he, along with his friends from a YTL home, were selected to attend "Cha-Ching Live in Malaysia", a financial education program for children. During the introductory session, I got to know that Joseph still lived in poverty here but he said that life was better in Malaysia because he got to go to school.
During the session, the children are allowed to earn Cha-Ching money by doing various activities. Then they get to spend their money to buy actual items and choose to donate some of their earnings to the less fortunate. We keep track of who the biggest donor is and then we reward them with a special prize for their generosity. To my surprise, the biggest donor turned out to be Joseph! What's even more surprising was the fact that he had donated more than 80% of what he had earned.
When asked why he decided to donate most of his earnings instead of spending it on some stationeries he needed, he said “I don’t need so much. There are many others who need the money more than I do.” And what he said hit me hard. This boy, in his poverty, gave almost all that he had because he understood the meaning of putting others before himself. If we can all become a little more like Joseph, I believe the world will be a better place.
Josephine Wong, Psychology Student @ HELP University
Interning under the Education Services team at Generasi Gemilang was eye-opening. Much of my responsibility revolved around having to mentor students in their studies, and I dreaded it in the beginning because I never really enjoyed my past tutoring jobs. Mentoring this set of students was especially challenging because they were weaker and had trouble understanding me in English. It took a lot out of me just trying to communicate basic grammatical rules to them; and yet after putting in so much effort, they still didn't understand and could not complete their work.
As the days went by, I had to adapt my teaching style according to each student's learning needs. Besides guiding them in their studies, I made an effort to get to know them and establish a relationship so that I could understand what motivates them. I did this because I wanted to be able to impart values that would help them view life from different perspectives.
Josephine with a group of PBP students at the PBP camp.
One thing I learnt about mentoring is that it is the effort that counts. My mentees helped me realize that the effort that we both put in--me into mentoring and them into learning, is what matters the most. Despite being unable to complete their exercises, I am happy to see the effort and determination they put in to at least try.
My biggest learning from this internship experience is this--to always view people as individuals, not as projects or simply just as work. When I started viewing my students as individuals instead of work, I developed a genuine sense of love and care for them, wanting to give my best to serve them in the best way possible. Too often, the harshness of life hardens our heart and we forget why we do what we do. When I learned to stop viewing my daily tasks as just work, I started to develop a deeper sense of empathy towards the people I served. This enabled me to broaden my perspectives and view things from another person's point of view. I came to an understanding that there is so much in the world that we do not see. Different people come from different backgrounds and have different experiences, so we should not be too quick to judge, but learn to empathise, understand, and learn from these people because everyone has something different to offer.
Vijayasharmala, Psychology Student @ HELP University
Interning in the Education Services department helped me reach out to under-served children in need of guided learning. In my first few weeks of Pusat Bimbingan Pelajar (PBP) and Community Reading Program (CRP), I noticed that the students from the community had difficulty understanding the concept of the English language and had poor writing skills. Determined, I was able to move past the challenges I faced (like language barriers), and found ways to share my knowledge with them. This is because I strongly believe that education has the power to create a better life, only if children are given the opportunity to explore and learn.
It was during the PBP camp, one where I had planned with my fellow intern Josephine, that I realized I was more than just a mentor to these children. The way they spoke to me as we spent days together in camp made me feel like an older sibling who connected and understood them. This ultimately helped me take a different approach when I was teaching them.
Vijayasharmala completing the flying fox activity during the PBP camp.
As much as I was eager to make a difference in the childen’s lives, I also saw a change in myself. I used to be uncomfortable speaking in front of even a small group. But this internship has given me opportunities to speak and gain confidence, so much so, now I can speak in front of a large group without feeling nervous. As an intern with a mentor that was detail-oriented, I learned to pay attention to detail and it has since helped me to be more effective at my work.
It was a pleasure to be part of Yayasan Generasi Gemilang (GG), I really enjoyed my time as an intern here and have kept many great experiences, which will always remain a part of me.
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