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Year 2020, COVID-19 outbreak, it spread out to the whole country and everyone was affected; under privilege families took the hardest hit. While they were striving to survive, they had to take prevention steps as well. Fortunately, during these difficult time, there were few groups of people who were willing to stand out to serve the under privilege. Puchong Christian Alliance Centre was one of them. When they saw the need of the under privilege group in their community, without any hesitation, they stepped up to help them.
August of year 2020, Puchong Christian Alliance Centre joined 7979 Holistic Care Relief Network and set up 7979 Holistic Care Station. 2021, 1st of March, they set up Love Companionship Class, focus on serving the under privilege students in their community, by providing homework guidance, meals and transportation of students to and back from the school.
SJK (C) Han Ming Primary School is about 6 to 7 km away from Puchong Christian Alliance Centre, it is the school that Love Companionship Class focuses on. Actually there are few primary schools in the vicinity of Puchong Christian Alliance Centre, but due to limited resources, they can only focus on one. When the church submitted the proposal of “Under Privilege Children Companionship Class program” to the school, the program was immediately accepted because of its high feasibility. Henceforth, the school gave Love Companionship Class a list of suitable students for this program. Love Companionship Class ministry was launched promptly after visitations to the relevant families were completed.
The Team Precedes Over the Students
“Without a team, it is impossible to start the ministry.” Ps. Evelyn Ting believes the key factor of managing Love Companionship Class is a willing and committed team. When Love Companionship Class was found, the work-force was around 10 persons; one fulltime teacher and the rest were volunteers. During that time, the number of students did not even reach ten. Ps. Evelyn hold strongly to the point that the running of Love Companionship Class cannot solely depends on one person or the number of students enrolled. She asserted once again the team precedes all other things, when they can walk together in one united heart, then the ministry will be able to sustain.
Ps. Evelyn Ting was a co-worker of HISTEAM, worked under 7979 department, she currently serves in a church. She was encouraging and looking for church members who are willing to commit themselves in Love Companionship Class ministry to join the team. After the team was formed, every co-worker and volunteer was assigned to specific job and role, some were teachers, some were in-charge of meals and some were assigned as transporter who in-charge of fetching and sending the students. Hopefully, as the team serves the under privilege children through Love Companionship Class, the team will take social concern ministry more seriously, and know that they can respond by playing a part in this society.
‘There are people in our team who had been serving since the founding stage, and now they are still going strong.” Whenever, Ps. Evelyn talks about her team, her eyes would be sparkling, the radiance originated from every team member, has reflected upon the whole Love Companionship Class.
Did Not Give Up Even During Bottleneck Stage
As I walked pass the main classroom of Love Companionship Class, I saw four teachers were teaching 10 students at different corners. The room was filled with joyful atmosphere, some students keep raising their hands to answer teachers’ questions, some were quietly doing their homework with teachers assisting at the side. In another classroom, I saw a teacher was teaching only one student. Looking at its present condition, it is hard to believe that there was once in the past this Love Companionship Class hits its bottleneck…
“The process of hiring teacher can be very tedious, at our initial stage, we had a fulltime teacher before, however she left after about a year of teaching. During those days, we were in short of teachers and with no fulltime co-worker. The teachers took turns to teach.” Ps. Evelyn shared that Love Companionship Class experienced about 3 months of bottleneck. During the period when we were in shortage of teachers, the number of students has increased to 12 persons. Thus, she who does not possess any teaching experience had to put down other works on hand, started to teach the children fulltime, until the present fulltime teacher, Sis. Siew Mei Ling come on board.
Although, those days of teaching fulltime in Love Companionship Class were very exhausting. “It is very common to see only two teachers on duties, sometimes three. However, when someone is on leave, then there would only be two teachers to handle a class of twelve students of different standards and levels of understanding.” Praise the Lord, because the teachers serve on the basis of love for the children, no teachers ever thought of giving up on Companionship Class.
All Exhaustion Gone When We Learned in Joy
Other than the 5 days in a week attending Companionship Class, some students also joined the Saturday “Grow Happily Class”. Hopefully, through games, activities and talent classes, the children’s character may be shaped, their interest in learning and confidence will increase as well. Ps. Evelyn said many of the students disliked learning when they first joined Companionship Class, now they love learning, enjoy the fun of learning, to them learning is no more tiring and boring. They can also make many good friends from Companionship Class, some who were initially very introvert and had social phobia, did open up gradually and finally able to build relationship with teachers and other students.
In order to give the students a platform to showcase their talents, Love Companionship Class organizes graduation ceremony for standard 6 students, all parents are invited to attend and watch their children’s performance. We wanted them to know that they can be successful, with the encouraging applause from the spectators, the students will get the affirmation they needed. Graduation ceremony is an effective platform for students, parents, teachers, volunteers, donors and others to witness the students’ “Learn Happily attitude” and obvious growth in every aspect. “Now I see that every meal that I cook is very valuable; it is not just a dish.” One of the volunteer who is in-charge of meals realized her contribution when she saw the students’ performances.
Through Companionship Class, students do not only spread happiness to each other, they successfully transferred it to the adults as well. To sum it up, learning could be a very happy thing, sincere contribution could also be a very happy thing. For these, Ps. Evelyn Ting is willing to march forward happily together with her team.