12-15 January 2015 - REACH conducted a volunteer program for students from Uplands International School, Penang. The volunteers contributed one week of their time assisting REACH in the following programmes:-
Program 1- A Day at the Organic Farm
The day at the farm began with an introduction briefing and walk through the farm with Fung. Fung has been an organic farmer for more than 18 years. He has a way of explaining the principles of organic farming in such a simple and personal manner that makes it easy to see why organic farming although labour intensive produces a healthier living environment which strikes a sustainable balance between man and nature. In addition, organic vegetables are a much healthier option as it is free off the chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers.
After the briefing participants got to experience first hand what it was like to be a farm hard and did some hard manual labour of weeding, harvesting and general maintenance work. After only an hours work most of them were ready to give up. Lunch was prepared by the volunteers themselves using the freshly harvested vegetables cooked over an outdoor stove. They were then allowed to enjoy paddling in the little pond on a raft made out of mineral water bottles and laze about on the sundeck for awhile. As most of the structures at the farm are built from using recycled material and innovation, the volunteers were asked to put their heads together and figure out how to put up a 6 man/woman tent made from an old lorry tarpaulin.
Program 2 – Reading Programme at an Orang Asli Village
Volunteers were taken on a roller coaster ride via a winding, steep and narrow road to reach the OA Village located only 20 minutes from Tanah Rata. There are about 60 children who come for the session ranging from 4-14 years old. The volunteers helped to read stories, sing action songs, play vocabulary games and converse in English with the children to help build their confidence in the language.
Program 3 – Visit to SJKT Ringlet (an Environmental Cluster School)
The volunteers visited a local the school that has accomplished many notable environmental projects such as rain water harvesting, water testing, setting up of an orchid nursery, recycling and composting. The volunteers helped the students to weed and do some maintainence work in the Compost Garden which was set up jointly with REACH.
Program 4 – Making of Compost from Household Waste.
After learning what REACH and others have done to safeguard the environment, the participants were reminded that they had to play their part too. Among the simplest things that one could do at a household level was to recycle and compost their household waste. The volunteers were shown how to recycle and make garden compost from kitchen scraps using items which could be easily found at home.
Program 5 – Nature Walk and appreciation of the forest.
The volunteers were taken on a nature walk through the Sg.Pauh Forest Reserve. There they manage to see some of the natural wild beauties and wade through a crystal clear river. The comparison of the clean and dirty river that flows through the forest reserve was an eye opener of how man has polluted our water source,
Go to page 2 for photo gallery.