In Malaysia, 183,790 of refugees have no access to formal education due to legal restrictions. The only access they have is through learning centers. Even so, only a few are enrolled in these learning centers. In response to this social issue, Dignity for Children provides learning spaces outside the four walls of the traditional classrooms.
History of Dignity for Children
Dignity for children’s work began in 1998. Through the outreach of New Covenant Community Church, Rev. Elisha Satvinder and his wife Petrina, the founders, quickly discovered many underprivileged families in the Sentul area. Concerned over the welfare of the poor in the area, they began to reach out to the community through basic home improvement services, grocery distribution, arrangement of free medical check-ups, raising support for school supplies, job placements and counselling.
However, they quickly realized that with the limited resources and manpower at their disposal, this work, while helpful, would not have the lasting impact they so wanted to see. As a result, they started informal tuition programme for urban poor children in 1998. To date, Dignity for Children is one of the largest learning centers in Malaysia that provides quality education to refugee and marginalized students. Throughout the past 24 years, over 12 000 children and youths have benefited from these educational programmes.
Dignity for Children
The association’s objective is to provide refugee and marginalized children equal access to quality education, skills development and community-based support to help them build a better future for themselves and support their families. By providing formal education and skills training classes, they also aim to promote gender equality and empower girls and women refugees. The goal is to build an inclusive and positive learning environment for students to develop their academic, social and emotional competencies, while empowering them to become resilient individuals.
Think Human Foundation & Dignity for Children
Recently, THF and Dignity for Children joined forces in Malaysia on a common interest- providing access to quality education for refugee and marginalized students. Dignity’s skills training program includes practical training and placement. The project will benefit 200 students per year between the ages of 16 to 19 years old.
They will follow digital literacy programs to be ready for the professional world and social emotional learning like developing self-esteem, empathy. The current target population are secondary students already enrolled in Dignity’s Advanced Secondary Employability Training program.