Saturday, 3 August 2013

by Amanda Lee Yue Ping, Class of 2014, Junior 1 Cempaka

Interact Club’s Cempakans Give Back campaign concluded last Thursday, with spectacular results. A staggering total of 5463 books were collected. However, the best part did not lie in the massive number of books Cempakans donated, the best part, was no doubt seeing the joyful smiles of the 80-something orphans who are now able to indulge in their brand new mini-library. 


In the month of June, students, teachers and even parents across the entire Cempaka Damansara community, from Reception to Secondary, came together in a giving spirit to bring the gift of reading to the less fortunate. The plan was simple. Collect books, then build a mini-library. Interactors became aware of the lack of reading materials and facilities at orphanages and welfare homes due to their countless visits and active community service work. Having almost next to none in both, the children are not just deprived of knowledge, but they are missing out on a huge part of their childhood. Im sure this hit home with many Cempakans as much as it did with me. 

Boxes upon boxes filled with books began to stack up and fill the back of the KH room. The fact that the book drive was a competition also sparked students to ransack their bookshelves at home and lug bags and bags of books to school to donate. The other half of the campaign, the build-a-mini-library project was greeted with equal amount of enthusiasm from Cempakans. Interact received generous donations, ranging from a new set of tables and chairs to a bookshelf, carpets and many other things required to set up a mini reading corner.

After the deadline for the book drive concluded, then began the long task of sorting, counting and re-sorting the books. Orphanages had to be surveyed and other such details had to be sorted out. On the 29th of June, Interactors visited Ti-Ratana and Lighthouse Welfare Orphanage to set up the mini-library. It took a lot of hard work to set up everything. Who knew putting a mere chair together could take such a long time? Luckily, the children were more then eager to lend us a hand, excitedly holding pieces into place or occasionally wielding the hammer to tap nails into their place with careful supervision. The best part was undoubtedly filling in the empty shelves with rows upon rows of books. After unpacking all the children's books and bringing back nostalgic memories, there was a certain sense of satisfaction in knowing that we succeeded in giving these children a wonderful part of their childhood. 


All these priceless moments were captured and made into a heartfelt imovie which screened during the assembly. After that, representatives from Standard 3 Terra, Standard 6 Terra and Form 3/Sophomore 2 - the winning teams of the book drive, traipsed onto stage to receive a hamper filled with goodies. The younger winners beamingly collected their hamper after being hugged and kissed on the cheek enthusiastically by a proud Puan Farah. 


At the end of everything, mini-bookmarks -  having an appropriate significance to the campaign were handed out as a small show of gratitude to students for their generosity and for giving back to the community. All in all, what was said during the presentation by the Interact Board of Directors ring true: "We didn’t just succeed in donating books and building a library, we gave them a childhood and wonderful memories. And for that, thank you."



‘ The more you read, the more things you’ll know, the more things that you’ll learn, the more places you’ll go.
- Dr Seuss

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