Dear DASwk family and friends,
Happy New Year 2019! May you and your families be blessed with all that are beautiful and good this year.
2018 has been one of our most memorable years! We were pleasantly surprised to be selected as the Excellent NGO in Sarawak (NGO Cemerlang) in conjunction with the State-level Women’s Day celebration in November. I must thank and record my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to:
· * Our Honorable Advisor, YB Dato Seri Hajah Fatimah Abdullah, Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development
· * Our Patron, YBhg Datin Hajjah Azerina Mohd Arip
* All committee members, members, staff and parents
for your most kind support and continuing help to Dyslexia Sarawak (DASwk) that enable us to be recognized for this award by the Chief Minister.
We thank Sarawak Energy Bhd. for providing us an opportunity to work again with Penan children of re-settled families in remote Sek Keb Metalun (6 hrs from Bintulu) in our Literacy for Social Inclusion program to enhance the reading and writing skills of these children in BM and English. In 2016-2017, the US Embassy of Kuala Lumpur and our collaborators - Sarawak Energy Bhd and State Education Department provided us the means to conduct both BM and English literacy programs among Penan children of re-settled families in Sek Keb Tegulang, also in Murum, Sarawak. In addition, DASwk with the US Embassy of Kuala Lumpur, Institute of Ethnic Studies of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Department of Orang Asli Development of Hulu Langat, Selangor conducted literacy camps for Temuan orang asli children of Kampung Kachau Luar in Ulu Semenyih and Kpg Gabai, Dusun Tua of Selangor. Many of these orang asli children had either dropped out early from school or had never been in school.
Having a deep concern for poor literacy among children and young adults of marginalized communities and sensing their thirst for mastery of literacy to improve life’s opportunities, I express our gratitude to The EDGE KL Rat Race 2017 for the fund to advance the BM literacy skills of Penan children in Murum, Sarawak and Temuan orang asli children & young adults in Ulu Semenyih in the program ‘Pemerkasaan Kanak-Kanak Remaja dan Orang Asli Temuan untuk Keterangkuman dan Mobiliti Sosial’. At the end of the program throughout 2018, many of the participants who were non-literate were able to read and write short passages in BM. Much thanks and appreciation to our collaborators – Sarawak Energy Bhd, Sarawak State Education Department, Social Welfare Council of Sarawak, Institute of Ethnic Studies of UKM and Department of Orang Asli Development of Hulu Langat, Selangor.
Undoubtedly, 2018 has been a remarkable year for us. Our mission to advocate for children and young adults with dyslexia and other learning disabilities has been gaining strong foothold among various government agencies, educational institutions, non-governmental organisations, parents, teachers and the general public. They have given us increasing support and recognition in the following programmes:
· Our SMARTER*phonics programme has been adopted by the state government and is currently being used in all pre-schools of the State Education Department for the second year.
· Character Building Camp 2018 at Gunung Gading National Park, Lundu for children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities in collaboration with State Social Welfare and Forestry Departments.
· 7th Annual Rope Skipping Competition for individuals with dyslexia and other learning disabilities in collaboration with the State Social Welfare Department, State Education Department, Sarawak State Library and UNIMAS Medical Society.
· Literacy Enhancement Project for Bahasa Melayu and English among Inmates of Henry Gurney School, Puncak Borneo, Kuching in collaboration with the Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development, State Education Department and Prisons Department.
· Purple Run in October 2018.
· Charity Food and Fun Fair in November 2018.
We thank our partners, volunteers, collaborators, donors and sponsors for their support in the above programmes.
We are most pleased to be selected as Charity Partner for the year 2019 by the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) and look forward to working together to improve our services and conduct of our programmes and activities.
We remain steadfast in the realisation of our vision of establishing the Dyslexia Learning Institute on a piece of land granted by the state government. This institute will offer more classrooms to the growing demand of many children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities and hostel facilities to families from outside Kuching. A big “Thank You” to all our donors and sponsors who have contributed generously towards our DASwk building fund project. We are still a long way off from achieving our target but we are committed and will continue vigorously to raise the required funds to build our institute. Please continue to support and help us realize this dream.
On a closing note, let us remind ourselves that children with dyslexia are potentially gifted. At DASwk, we strive to ensure that “Every child can read and write at their age-appropriate and mental capacity level” and to give them the gift of literacy so that they can express their other talents and strengths. We will continue to strive to advance the call that all children with dyslexia have a right to be placed in mainstream classrooms in an inclusive setting.
Best wishes from the President, Executive Committee, members and staff of Dyslexia Association of Sarawak, January 2019