Persatuan Kebajikan Suara Kanak-Kanak Malaysia (SUKA)
Name of Respondent: Anderson Selvasegaram
Designation: Executive Director
Website Address: www.sukasociety.org
1.How long have you been with SUKA and what’s your favourite part of the job?
I have been with SUKA for 5 years. I joined as an educational advisor and have grown our approach at SUKA from children focus to the point where sustainability is now a major part of our strategy. It’s sort of my baby! I think it’s the variety that makes it so exciting –the role covers some many different facets. Another thing I enjoy is the sense of changing the face of dealing with children.
2. What do you wish to pursue?
We in SUKA wish to establish community learning centres for the underprivileged children; implementing specialised learning environments which develop children academically and socially, and empowering them to become productive members of society.
3. Where do you see these challenges heading?
Many orang asli children grow up in families where adult members possess minimum to no literacy skills. Lack of early years’ stimulation and support at home places these underprivileged children at a great disadvantage when it comes to both academic and social development.
Academically, they are unable to cope with the demands of the school environment. The lack of early stimulation causes these children to miss out on the development of concrete concepts that are the building blocks of abstract thought. Children enter a school system that is almost entirely based on abstract concepts and examples. Predictably, with no foundation, and no support, these children are unable to keep up and quickly become disengaged.
The lack of success in academics fuels a low self-image. This low self-image leads to a mentality of “learned helplessness”, causing children to feel they cannot succeed, and that there is nothing that they can do about it. This continues the route of disengagement and children seek acceptance through other means, often engaging with a crowd equally disengaged and perpetuating the cycle of poverty for yet another generation.
4. How do you intend to tackle this issue?
We believe that the most effective way to break the cycle of poverty is through quality and holistic education. We echo the belief that children are the peacemakers of the future, and that education is the way in which children are raised to become those who find ways to live in social, cultural and environmental harmony.
Our focus is on helping children develop an awareness of the interdependency of the world around them as a whole, and an understanding that they are part of and contribute to that whole. Through education, children not only gain the concepts and knowledge needed to find gainful employment, but develop the attitudes, self-respect and holistic worldview needed to become a positive contributor to the greater society.
5. How can the public be part of this?
OSK Foundation is committed to helping build happy, healthy and more resilient communities. To support this, we provide easy ways to help you start giving and having an impact on causes you care about. We offer a number of philanthropic tools for individuals,families or businesses to cater for those starting big or those startling small. As a donor, you can choose to contribute in monetary, join the volunteer team or suggest us any form of your contribution.