I was first introduced to Yayasan Chow Kit (YCK) through a short volunteering stint with another charity organisation back in 2012. With a group of volunteers, I remember visiting a centre under YCK. I was too occupied with work and other personal commitments back then that my volunteering involvement took a back seat. But at that time, I took with me the knowledge of the existence of YCK and the noble community efforts directed especially towards the urban poor and at-risk kids and teenagers around the Chow Kit area.
In 2014, I grabbed the chance to volunteer, and this time around, through YCK. Of course I was admittedly anxious about setting aside few months of my unpaid leave of absence from my workplace to do pro bono work pending commencement of my postgraduate study. I am grateful to have supportive family and work supervisor behind this surprising decision of mine. However, realistically speaking, months without income and the depleting savings for the expenses; who would not worry? But I can say that it was worth it.
My volunteering stint at YCK for approximately 5 calendar months turned out to be a fulfilling learning experience. I was teaching groups of refugees and local kids at two centres under YCK. As much as I hope that I have contributed something to the students, I for sure have learned and received a lot from teaching them. I gained new perspective. I learnt about life, patience, unity and compassion. I learnt to better understand the harsh truth of the struggling side of the social economic divide and how it affects opportunities (ever heard about the cycle of poverty?). At the same time, I feel blessed to witness and appreciate the flowering hope of change and progress that are continuously watered and nurtured by (among others) the in-house teachers, social workers and other full-time staffs at YCK. I learnt to really appreciate their contributions.
I believe that the cycle of poverty can be broken through education for the underprivileged. This kind of journey won’t be all nice and dandy and can be exhausting and tiring at times, especially when you do not see any change right there and then. But it dawned upon me that one person couldn’t change the world, alone. It is a collaboration of so many people working together. The final outcome might not be evident or obvious, but in a bigger picture, you might have already been a part of that progressive chain. And the take-away lessons taken from the volunteering experience at YCK are of very precious value. And I guess… those are things that really matter.
I have always believed that volunteering is not just about giving and contributing.
THANK YOU Yayasan Chow Kit for the amazing opportunity and medium for me to “give” and “teach” and at the same time to “receive” and “learn”.
February to June 2014