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For children at risk, a Krash Pad like home

 | February 21, 2016

Lessons for life for those who can't go to normal schools or vulnerable on the streets.

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KUALA LUMPUR: The stories of the children of Chow Kit often go unnoticed, perhaps because some of them appear like any other child with bright faces and playful smiles. Behind the smiles lie sad stories that only those who have walked in their shoes would truly understand.

“I can’t go to a normal school because my birth certificate is missing,” says one. “My parents are refugees. I was born here but I don’t have the documents needed to go to school like other children.”

These were just some of the anecdotes related by children at KL Krash Pad, a centre where vulnerable and at-risk teenagers go for alternative literacy programs and participate in positive self-building activities.

It is a safe haven where the underprivileged Chow Kit children get to spend their time, rather than roam the streets which may expose them to activities that might result in them being involved with gangs, violence, crime and substance abuse, or other things.

They might never obtain proper qualifications that for other children will secure them their future, but they get to learn just as much as those enrolled in national schools.

The centre’s manager, M. Pusenthi, told FMT that the children learn English, Mathematics, Science, and History among other subjects. They were also taught legal rights and responsibilities, among other issues to raise their awareness.

“We teach both local and refugee children. Besides education, they also get to participate in sports like football and volleyball. We want them to feel just like other children. Hopefully, one day they will be good adults and parents.”

Pusenthi was speaking to FMT after a joint event with Institut Onn Jaafar, a non-profit organisation, at which a soup kitchen was held in the morning, to serve breakfast to the children.

“The plan is to provide breakfast twice a month on the first and third Wednesday. If the response is good, we will have it every week and hopefully later on, every day,” said the institute’s chief executive officer, Charles Mohan.

He said the Institute’s patron, Hishammuddin Hussein, the defence minister and Umno vice-president, came up with the idea that they should concentrate on more hands-on programmes for homeless and underprivileged children.

“So he suggested for us to try doing something like a soup kitchen. We chose to do it in front of KL Krash Pad because this is the best location for the underprivileged students and also the homeless.”

Anyone interested can lend a helping hand with its “Jom Breakfast” programme by signing up on the website INSTITUT ONN JA’AFAR (IOJ) or by leaving a message on its Facebook page.


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