The team gathered at President’s Square by 7am and had breakfast before they were bound for the Handicapped and Mentally Disabled Children Association in Johor Bharu. At 10am, the participants were ready and kick-started the program with a briefing and a quick tour by a staff of the home. After learning all about the functions and history of the residency, it was time for the sessions to begin in it’s classroom.
As an ice-breaking activity, the joining residents of the home and all the volunteers played a game of Pass the Ball, where the losers would then sing or dance for the rest of the team. Keeping up with the musical theme, they continued with a game of Musical Chairs. Volunteers and residents randomly joined in and had fun snatching the available seats when the music stopped. Conducted by teachers Anna and Belinda, the activities kept rolling with a casual dance choreography that everyone chimed in spontaneously.
That’s one way of breaking the ice, with volunteers coming together and residents mustering the confidence to join in and play along with the music. Nothing brings people together than the arts. That is why for the next slot, the volunteers handed out printed graphics and filled up the photo with bright colours together with the residents.
At 12 in the afternoon, it was the resident’s lunch time. So, they had a short break while the volunteers arranged the seats for the closing ceremony of the day. The program leader Esther and the staff teacher Anna took the stage for a brief speech on how grateful they were for the flow of this event. On behalf of the volunteers and residents respectively, the two exchanged tokens of appreciation with one another. A few residents serenaded the team with songs and the whole group of people closed off with a photo session. Before calling it a day and heading back to Melaka, the volunteers had their lunch and cleaned up the compound.
Academic pursuit is nothing without reaching out a hand to those who need it. MMU’s 2019 is off to a good start with the success of this program, with an experience of love and humanity that the volunteers as well as the home residents can cherish for the rest of their years.