It has been said that a small gesture of kindness is capable of changing the world. In 1993, the plight of Puan Kelthom Abdullah, a single mother struggling to make ends meet in Kelantan, spurred a group of four young Malaysian students in the UK to run a donation drive to help bear the education costs of her children. This simple act of compassion was the catalyst to the Projek Kalsom as we know it today. Puan Kelthom’s name is immortalised in this humble yet meaningful movement that is now in its twenty-second year.
The spark that ignited in the hearts of this initial group of students drove them to initiate a programme to help educate and motivate secondary school students in rural areas of Malaysia who were less fortunate than them.
The first Projek Kalsom was held the following year in Jerantut, Pahang, and the success of the first Kalsom has ensured its continuity for two decades.
The year 2011 saw Projek Kalsom being fully endorsed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports. In 2012, Projek Kalsom 18 reached another milestone as it was held in East Malaysia for the first time in its history. In 2014, once again, Projek Kalsom 21 committee held its flagship motivational camp in East Malaysia, this time in Sabah, thus successfully organising the camp in all states of Malaysia after 21 years of establishment.
This year, The Kalsom Movement 22 committee has gone to great lengths to ensure that the spirit of the Kalsom founders live on through a significant upheaval of the programme, for the benefit the students as well as society at large. Each module of the programme is developed along a development curve to ensure a progressive learning experience to everyone. After each module, the participants will acquire certain skills. The module will start with a personal discovery on individual’s weaknesses and strengths and will end with confidence development.
The Usage of English Language
It is without a doubt that the grasp of the English language is an essential skill to survive in this globalised world and its importance is not limited to examinations purposes. However, the usage of this language is still at an unsatisfactory level, especially in rural areas. The entire Projek Kalsom is conducted in English and we attempt to instil the required skills to increase the confidence among the students to promote the use of the language in their daily conversation. All the modules conducted aim to encourage the students to use the English language in a fun and interactive manner. This will hopefully spark the students’ interest to further continue using English as a medium to communicate in daily life.
Development of Academic and Non-academic Skills
Academic skills such as note-taking, studying smart and memorising skills are important for those who are going to sit for important examinations such as the SPM. Unfortunately, not all students are exposed to or possess the correct techniques for these skills. Throughout the programme, interactive seminars will be held which are aimed to equip the participants with these skills. Apart from that, non-academic skills such as leadership, teamwork, creative-thinking and entrepreneurial skills are equally important and will be highlighted. It is crucial that these students are well equipped with this set of skills, even if they choose not to further their studies. All these skills here are important not just for university, but for the university of life
Exposure to Post-secondary Education Opportunities
Previous Kalsoms have shown that a majority of the students decide not to pursue tertiary education. This is due to either loss interest of in their studies, lack of knowledge of educational pathways after secondary school, family obligations or financial difficulties. Projek Kalsom exposes the students to options and opportunities offered in tertiary education. We aim to show the students that they do not have to do traditional subjects if they do not want to, as they can opt for many other non-traditional subjects that might appeal to their interest. They are also exposed to non-traditional educational pathways such as going into business courses to start their own small businesses. In terms of funding and financial help, they will be introduced to the different kinds of scholarships, grants, loans that are available for them. The participation of facilitators from non-traditional educational backgrounds is also a way of demonstrating to the students the wealth of opportunities available for them, regardless of the pathways they choose to take
Nurturing Kalsom Spirit for Stakeholders and Beneficiaries
We realise that our sponsors – who are the stakeholders, and our beneficiaries – our students and facilitators, are the driving force behind Projek Kalsom. Without the contributions of the former, organising Projek Kalsom would not be possible, and it is the latter that is the heart and soul of the movement. To ensure maximum interest and commitment from our esteemed sponsors, we hope to convey the message of the Kalsom Spirit – that Projek Kalsom is so much more than a one week motivational programme, but a force that drives us to make a difference in our society. The sustainability of Projek Kalsom will be demonstrated through on-going programmes in which lie the values of the Kalsom Spirit. For our beneficiaries, it is this Spirit that will continue to spur a desire to continue searching for opportunities to better themselves and their communities. At the heart of the Kalsom Spirit is to instil in the students the feeling that they are the best, no matter what they choose to do.