Aku@NST terbitan – 23 December 2003

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Muka depan surat khabar NST keluaran 23 December 2003

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Ketika menjayakan majlis anjuran Yayasan Salam Malaysia suatu ketika dulu, aku yang baju lengan panjang, depan paling kanan… huhu memegang watak sebagai orang kurang upaya (OKU) cayalah!!..

KUALA LUMPUR, Mon. – Political commitment is pivotal to the development and strengthening of volunteerism, and a clear system of appreciation and recognition must be established to promote voluntary services.
Yayasan Salam Malaysia executive director Paul Selva Raj said while volunteers in developed countries were given due recognition by their governments, their counterparts here appeared to be “invisible” to the community.

While volunteers were selfless in their acts of volunteering, it was up to the community and the Government to acknowledge their sacrifices, he said at Yayasan Salam’s volunteer recognition ceremony on Saturday.

Urging the Government to recognise the hours put in by volunteers, he said there should be some advantages to young volunteers in their application to the Government’s higher learning institutions.

He also said Yayasan Salam was striving to increase the involvement of schoolchildren in volunteerism. To date, 92 schools nationwide were involved in 118 projects made possible through close collaboration with the Education Ministry’s School Division.

The ceremony was held in conjunction with International Volunteer Day.

More than 100 volunteers, including individuals and groups, received certificates in recognition of their contributions to the association this year.

Among those honoured were some of the 14 volunteers sent on international humanitarian missions to Laos, Cambodia, Timor Leste and Sri Lanka.

Volunteers Devinder Raj (Laos), Iskandar Syah Ismail (Laos), M.

Balakrishnan and Komander (R) S. Thayaparan (Sri Lanka) were among those sent overseas and were instrumental in setting up Internet Service Providers, teaching English and conducting computer classes for the people.

For Masriah Dahlan, 29, a permanent volunteer with the National Cancer Council, the minimal allowance she receives monthly may not give her a lavish lifestyle but it is the satisfaction at the end of every day that matters.

Having left her job as a computer programmer, she joined the Foundation over a year ago and had since been dealing with cancer-stricken patients.

“I hated hospitals and was apprehensive when assigned to Makna. But as I persevered, I realised that was the very place that has made me stronger inside.”

Devinder, one of Yayasan Salam’s outstanding volunteers who was assigned to help the Laotian Education Ministry design and develop an English curriculum for teacher training colleges and universities, said “the experience gained was priceless”.

Devinder was an assistant director in the language unit of the schools division at the Education Ministry.

Also present at the event was Yayasan Salam’s board of trustees’ member, Prof Abdullah Malim Baginda. Yayasan Salam is a non-profit organisation that promotes voluntary service and provides opportunities for Malaysians to do voluntary work locally and abroad.

NEW STRAITS TIMES

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