KAJANG, 19th April – Bakti Siswa: Mahasiswa D’Hati Rakyat (MDR) comes to a close on 16th April 2017. Held at Kampung Lahar Kepar, Kepala Batas, Pulau Pinang, the four-day camp and three nights (4D3N) program that started on the 13th April 2017 was joined by over 130 participants.
This community service program was held in commemoration of Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) 20th anniversary and aims to nurture the value of volunteerism within the participants. MDR managed to narrow the social gap between society and UNITEN’s students throughout the four days filled with numerous activities.
Instead of living in a modern homestay or a hotel, each of Kampung Lahar Kepar’s villagers took a minimum of one participant to be their foster child during these four days. Students were introduced to the village lifestyle during their stay there by personally immersing them in a proper ‘kampung’ home.
During the flag-off ceremony, Dato’ Prof. Ir. Dr. Kamal Nasharuddin bin Mustapha, Vice Chancellor of UNITEN, stated that he wants UNITEN’s students to be concerned about society’s well-being and at the same time, have this spirit to give something back to society. He also mentioned about asking all UNITEN’s students to step out from their comfort zone and look at how the real world is.
The arrival of MDR’s participants at Kampung Lahar Kepar was welcomed with kompang. Once they settled down at an open hall, the ceremony started with a speech delivered by the Headman of Kampung Lahar Kepar, Dato’ Abu Bakar bin Yahaya. During the ceremony, the participants were introduced to their foster family for the weekend.
On 14th April 2017, all students, together with the villagers participated in the ‘Sawah Padi’ session. The students were asked to step inside the muddy paddy field to catch about 20kg of snakeheads and catfishes that had been released by the villagers a couple of minutes before the activity started. Though the main purpose of the activity was for students to try something new, this activity managed to strengthen the bond between the villagers and students.
When asked about how they felt during the ‘Sawah Padi’ session, one of MDR’s participants, Aisyah binti Ibrahim, said, “It feels kind of foreign when I first stepped into the muddy field but as time passed, I began feeling extremely excited. It was hard to catch the catfish when I first tried but when one of the villagers taught me the right technique of how to catch the said fish, it became easier and I got this sudden urge to catch as many as possible. I managed to catch five of them and we cooked them deliciously as our dinner for that day.”
On the third day of the program, ‘Rewang’ and ‘Gotong Royong’ was held during the morning session. The participants were divided into small groups and were assigned to specific tasks such as cleaning the mosque, cleaning the hall, cooking for the ‘Kenduri Rakyat’ and many more. Around 1:00 p.m., the Kenduri Rakyat started after the arrival of Tuan Yang Terutama Pulau Pinang, Tun Dato’ Seri Utama (Dr.) Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Abbas.
One of MDR’s participants, Luqman Haziq bin Ramli, said that, “I have learnt a lot of things from this activity, especially teamwork and how important it is to follow orders to ensure the work can be done on time and in good condition. Since I am from Kuala Lumpur, this activity is something new for me. I hope there will be more good activities like this in the future!”
The closing ceremony was inaugurated by Yang Berhormat, Dato’ Seri Reezal Merican bin Naina Merican, Kepala Batas Member of Parliament. During the ceremony, the Director of Bakti Siswa (BAKSIS) 2017, Amar Amjad bin Abdul Wahid, reminded us to keep in touch with our respective foster families and to focus on our studies as the final examination is just around the corner. Before heading back to UNITEN, all of MDR’s participants formed a large circle and sang MDR’s theme song, Laskar Pelangi, as a separation gift for the villagers.
Written by : Raja Noor Hafawati Raja Azman Shah & Nur Ain Farida binti Makhtar.
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