This week, we met up with Grade 7 student Raj R. who has been at ISKL for the past six years!
Last month Raj organized a book and toy drive for around 60 children in the Chin Refugees school. What started as a home project quickly turned into a full-fledged initiative at Middle School collaborating with High School students!
Raj enjoys spending time with his family and friends, playing soccer, and is a massive fan of the Arsenal football club! However, his newfound passion is playing basketball, and he is an avid supporter of the Philadelphia 76s Basketball team based in his hometown in the USA.
Here is his story.
“It all started over dinner one evening when my mom talked about how some smaller communities and refugees have been impacted due to Covid 19. Her remark made me feel that many children in these communities probably could not do much or understand what was happening around them.
‘Following that, I watched a video on Youtube of some teenage children not able to study or have enough food as their parents are not allowed to work. This made me want to do something, to let them know that we are all in this together.
‘I had no idea where to start. I had initially put flyers all over my condo informing neighbors about the campaign, and my mom helped me send out a reminder on the resident’s WhatsApp group and reached out to her friends.
‘I then contacted Mr. Peter Casey, the Middle School (MS) Principal knowing that ISKL is involved in many charitable organizations and would be an excellent place to start! Mr. Casey put me in touch with Ms. Traci Massey, a Humanities Teacher at MS who has helped me a lot and guided me through this process.
‘Ms. Massey asked me what my plan was and what I wanted to do. I remember telling her how I wanted to help children by bringing smiles to their faces and letting them know that we are in this together. She told me about a donation drive I could help with that the High Schoolers were doing for the Chin refugees, which focused on helping children.
‘Since the child refugees had not been in school since March 2020, I focused my donation drive on collecting books, stationery, art/craft materials, and canned food to help their families.
‘Ms. Massey suggested we could extend the drive to the entire MS, and so the collection date was set at school, where many MS students and teachers donated. It made me feel so good to see all my teachers supporting me in the drive. The more donations, the better for the children and their families!
‘I had no set goal for the donation drive as I felt any contribution would be useful; however, we managed to raise RM 500 in cash, stationery supplies, storybooks, toys, and canned food! It made me feel good that I could help some children, and I plan to do another drive next year. I hope that my initiative has encouraged more people to donate to children and their families in need.
‘My advice to others who are thinking about organizing a similar initiative is that if you are unsure of what to do but want to help, ask Mr. Casey or Ms. Massey to guide you in choosing the kind of donation drive you want to organize. Once you have selected the charity, check on what they specifically need. For example, if it’s for a refugee center, sometimes they might not need toys but require food for children – so always ask first.
‘I learned two things from this whole experience. The first is to ask for help, and the second is that a small act can make someone happy!”
What does “Be All You Are” mean to you?
“Be All You Are for me means being yourself and be the best you can be by trying your hardest. Don’t let anyone get to you or discourage you. If you set your mind to it, you can always achieve it.”
Do you know a student, faculty, staff, or alumni with a story to tell? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions to PanthersofISKL.