Funds required / Dana diperlukan: RM 15,644
No. of students impacted / Bil. murid diimpak: 1105
Name of school / Nama sekolah: SMK Riam
State / Negeri: Sarawak
When I was first posted to school, I was well-informed that the school has an on-going Impian Project led by Cikgu Mei that explores students' potential by challenging them to think about their future. I was moved and wanted to explore further because I am a counselling teacher and I am given the responsibility to guide and provide counselling support to the students. As a school counsellor, I think most problems that affect our students come from the issue of low self-worth. They come to school demotivated mostly because of low income and broken families. In addition to that, the school has not invested much in providing the students a safe space to express their potential, that comes mostly in the forms of visual and performing arts. Minimal school infrastructures and learning facilities have made the school not conducive and most funds allocated are used to repair the aged classrooms and the school gate. However, these have not stopped my students from pursuing their passions.
Let me tell you a little about them.
This group of students have a great interest in the performing arts.
They practice hard, prepare their own costumes and props and perform beautifully. Nevertheless, it is sometimes difficult because the area they are given to carry out practices and get ready for performances, is an open outdoor area which they share with other extra-curricular clubs and societies. It is often crowded, distracting and sometimes when it rains, their training sessions are cancelled.
Furthermore, some are very inclined towards drawing and painting. Last year, I was assigned to complete an annual planner with my students. Lily* and Petunia* are two of my very enthusiastic students who come to school almost everyday as early as 6.30 am to complete the project with me.
Lily and Petunia doing their thing. Sketching images free hand.
The completed annual planner.
Their dedication in completing this amazed me and other students, prompting the others to want to initiate more projects like these. The only hindrance is that we lack the space for them to gather and explore their creativity.
Another inspiring story I want to share with you is the story of Peter*. Peter has an extraordinary passion for make-up. He practices on the school performers to refine his skills. Although, sometimes it is difficult for him as he is often teased and made fun of for his uncommon interest. Despite that, he carries on with courage to pursue his his interest in make-up.
All these students need a comfortable space for them to explore their interests in the arts freely and easily. Cikgu Mei initiated a project on transforming an area in the school to become a dedicated room for students of the arts. Before she left SMK Riam, she handed the project over to me and I am extremely excited to begin the transformation. I strongly believe that in this new space, we will be able to cultivate their self-worth and boost up their confidence.
The space I intend for them to use is this unused corner in the school.
Currently, it is an open area where the fans are not working well and the walls are painted with murals that have obsolete meanings from almost a decade ago. I am aspiring to transform this into a multipurpose room for the arts.
The look of the new room was designed and proposed by my students and I really believe that once it is completed, it will be well utilised. This new space is aimed to provide facilities for dance practices, band practices, visual arts and a place for students of similar interests to gather. It will also be used for SMK Riam's newly initiated Music Club. The Music Club, formerly led by Cikgu Sophia and now led by Cikgu Elbenus, recently managed to to raise funds to purchase musical instruments, which will be stored in this space.
Here’s an example of what the room could potentially look like:
This photo is a room in Johor Youth Hub. I was very attracted to it because it looks almost like how my students and I envision the space transformation. The mirrors, the projector screen and the glass. We wanted the glass windows to ensure exposure of the talents when they practice. Curtains will also be installed incase of a need for closed practices. When people see what their friends are doing, they will generate recognition, respect, curiosity and hopefully encourage others to be involved with the arts.
As a counsellor, the theme of this project really captivated me. Cultivating self-worth in a safe space generates confidence by encouraging students to practice their passion. School is a special place where students explore themselves, and to my students here in this suburban school, school is the place where they come to everyday, from 7am up to evening if they practice sports, dances or music. I want to establish a space where I could walk the students from dreamers to leaders, through exploring their unique potential.
I believe that creating this room for them is a good start and I need help from all of you. I am hoping to raise enough funds to make this project a reality for my students.
*Student names have been changed to protect their identity.
Check out more projects from SMK Riam on our platform:
1. Cikgu Mei's project raised funds to purchase paints for her students to paint murals along school corridors.
2. Cikgu Sophia's project raised funds to purchase musical instruments for the school's first Music Club.