" If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much. "

Posted by Lakshmi

 So said Marian Wright Edelman, an American activist for the rights of children. who is also  the president and founder of the Children's Defense Fund.

For the past 2 months, I've been a volunteer teacher for some very young underprivileged school kids.  Every Monday aftertoons, I drive over to the school with stacks of storybooks, notebooks and workbooks to  help the kids with their English Language.  Most of these children lack parental guidance and  simple words of  encouragement .  They are the  latchkey kids - where both parents are away at work and the children are left on their own in the house without any supervision. Some of them have difficulty expressing themselves while some are so eager to  just talk, talk and talk non stop! Out of loneliness, perhaps? 

My volunteer class starts after their normal school hours and this bunch of students wait  patiently for me to arrive. Although they are 12 year olds, they look more like 8  year olds and could be blown away by a gust of wind.  That's how small sized and thin they are.  My heart really cries out when I see them so.  I am in no position to blame anyone, neither their parents nor the kids. Nor do I want to be judgemental. Perhaps its a mixture of  factors - poverty, ignorance, misplaced priorities, lack of adequate  teaching skills and facilities,  indifference by those concerned , politics and an  ever changing for the worse education policies .  The bottom line is - its always the children who are at the receiving end- not only here but all over the world as well.

It was during one of my classes that I noticed a boy, sitting at the front row,  straining at the blackboard to read the words.  Finding out that he was short-sighted and that his parents were unable to take him to an optometrist, I spoke to the Headmistress and volunteered to take him to one and get him a proper pair of spectacles .

Thinking that there could be a few more unnoticed cases and not sure that I could handle more than 1 at the moment,  I made some enquiries  through my friend at the Klang Kiwanis Club to see if they could sponsor a few students. And God bless my friend, she managed to convince them to sponsor corrective eye glasses for  5 more students!  

I'm so terribly happy for the  kids and can't seem to wait to take them out for a treat too - probably to the ' ABC Ais Kachang ' shop ( local granita like iced drink)

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