Community project won heart of Foundation

From left: Wee, Teoh, Sie, Tan, Leong, and Loh giving their thumbs up after the presentation on the Chicken Coop Project

A community project earned its owners the Best Project Award during the Khind Starfish Foundation - Project for Happiness 2019 Presentation Day held at UCSI University, Kuala Lumpur on 7 December 2019.

Known as the Chicken Coop Project, the five-month-long project’s main aim was to help the indigenous community in Kampung Temoh to build a chicken coop as well as acquire proper skills on chicken farming in order to generate income and become self-sustainable.

Supervised by Faculty of Science (FSc) academic Dr Tan Gim Cheong, the group comprised Faculty of Arts and Social Science Psychology student Sie Shwu Yuen; Centre for Foundation Studies (Kampar Campus) Foundation in Arts student Emily Leong Xian Yee; Faculty of Business and Finance Business Administration student Joshua Tan Kwan Ming and Accounting student Mary Ling Leun Kwong; and FSc Biotechnology student Zoe Wee Xin Jie.

“The idea came about following previous health awareness-related community projects in Kampung Temoh. We discovered that some families were still living below the poverty line. Therefore, a project to provide chicks and animal feeds to the underprivileged families was initiated by the Perak Elevate Life Society (PELS) and received the support from several UTAR students who were volunteering for PELS,” explained Dr Tan. According to him, the UTARians also mooted the idea of sourcing for additional financial support for the project which led to the application to the Khind Starfish Foundation.

Taking interest in the proposal, Khind Starfish Foundation on 5 September this year disbursed RM5,000 to the project which eased many of the group’s efforts in sustaining the project. The efforts included building a solid structure for the chicken coop, selling and marketing of the chickens, as well as educating the family in managing the chicken coop and also special needs of rearing chickens such as the purchasing of chicks, feeds selection, and even vaccination.

To Dr Tan, the success of such a community project requires concerted efforts from various parties as well. “While my role as a supervisor is to ensure that the project runs smoothly in order to comply with the timeline, there are also a few key persons in this project. They are Miss Loh Kaye Lynn from PELS who helped in communicating with the families, buying of animal materials, selling of chickens, and so on; Mr Lee Peng Hooi, a UTAR Hospital Project staff and PELS member who is very passionate in community engagement projects as well. He used his experiences in construction to help us purchase building materials as well as design and build the chicken coop; and Mr Teoh Chin Yick from the Department of Soft Skills Competency of Kampar Campus for assisting the students in the application and the presentation of the project’s outcome,” the FSc Department of Allied Health Sciences told.

As the group’s intention was purely to expand the project in order to allow the families to be self-sustainable, the award came as a pleasant surprise to all of them. “All of us rejoiced at such recognition from Khind Starfish Foundation. It feels really meaningful to be able to impact the lives of the families involved in this project,” said Dr Tan, who also professed that the engagement in this community project has also been enriching to him as well as the volunteers.

As the winner of the award, the group walked away with electrical appliances from Khind.

Established by public-listed manufacturer and marketer of consumer and industrial electrical products Khind Holdings Berhad (Khind) to carry out corporate responsibility projects of the Khind Group in Malaysia, the Khind Starfish Foundation spearheaded the “Projects for Happiness” initiative for all undergraduates in Malaysia to come up with grassroots projects anywhere in Malaysia. The main objective of the projects is to promote happiness and at the same time, address the root cause of poverty and poor education. With the focus on Education, Helping Underprivileged Community, Arts & Culture, Environmental Protection, Animal Welfare and Racial Harmony, the Foundation highly encourages applicants to be creative when designing projects and innovative when employing techniques in engaging the project participants.

A group photo of the team with the orang asli community and newly-built chicken coop

From left: The winning team with their reward consisting of an assortment of Khind electrical products

Sie (in grey coat) receiving the award

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