Amari JB partners with Community School

A partnership between Amari Johor Baru and the Rohingya Tampoi Community School which started last December with a holiday festive cards project by the students, has since developed into the hotel’s firm support commitment.

One for the album: Rohingya students and their
benefactors showing off their holiday festive cards
In an afternoon event hosted at the Amari JB recently, this partnership was formally announced by ONYX Hospitality Group’s Area General Manager, Dean Rossilli, in the presence of founder and executive director of Pertubuhan Kebajikan Cahaya Surya Bakti, Soraya Alkaff-Gilmour, the volunteer society which manages the Rohingya Tampoi Community School.

I’m familiar with Soraya and how the Community Schools have been helping students from the Rohingya community in Kulai and Kota Tinggi to acquire skills in reading, writing and arithmetic since its inception in 2010.

At the event, I also met with volunteer head teacher, Joanne McCarthy.

Run by expatriate and local volunteers, the schools are guiding students aged between six and 16 in education centers based in Tampoi (2013), Pekan Nanas and Kluang (both in 2017) to speak, read and write in proper English and Malay.

Soraya Alkaff-Gilmour [Left] with some of the
students from the Rohingya Tampoi Community School
Rossilli thanked everyone for their support in the hotel’s Christmas Charity Card Sale last year, which marked the start of the hotel’s partnership with the Rohingya Tampoi Community School.

The sale of the cards raised the sum of RM2,050 which went towards the purchase of school uniforms. It was the first time these students embarked on a festive card designing project and they were encouraged to continue with the project this year.

He reiterated the hotel’s effort to support the school and have plans to organise specific events and activities to help in their fund-raising.

In addition to supporting the Rohingya Tampoi Community School, Rossilli announced that the hotel will also support several charity homes for the young and elderly as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility efforts.

He said the hotel will launch their project dubbed, Ringgit For A Better Life, in April.

This is in line with the hotel’s charity project, Bhat For A Better Life, which started in 1995 where small change contributed by guests and donations from staff were used to further the education of children in Thailand.

In the same way, Ringgit For A Better Life, aims to support and provide educational opportunities for underprivileged children in Johor.

Soraya said that Pertubuhan Kebajikan Cahaya Surya Bakti (CSB) was registered as a society in 2017 to maintain good management, transparency and partnerships with key stakeholders.

They include Marlborough College of Malaysia (MCM), Advocates for Refugees (AFR) Singapore, the International Medical University of Malaysia (IMU) and other private donors and sponsors.

Last year, MCM asked Soraya to provide a wish list and in response, they presented a 15-seater, pre-owned van to the Community School which is being used to ferry the students to school.

Soraya expressed her deep appreciation for the support from stakeholders over the years and looked forward to their continued support in the coming years.

She is pleased that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has selected CSB to be their Eighth Implemented Partner in January 2018.

Soraya explained that under CSB, education is a social service that requires long-term planning for the Rohingya students to help them achieve their ambitions and to provide them with secondary school education in Johor.

Shaiful Qader [4th from Right], singing
A Million Dreams, with the group
At the moment, students aged 13 and above cannot continue with secondary school education here. As such, some young girls will stop school and be married while the teenage boys must do manual work to help to support the family financially.

Burdened with this responsibility, CSB is working hard to raise funds to go towards fitting out their new school premises at Jalan Sutera Merah 3 in Taman Sutera which has the capacity for 200 students.

Soraya called for collective involvement to pledge their support and partner with CSB to pursue their dream of providing education and a worthwhile life for Rohingya refugee children here.

Guests had a glimpse of the students’ singing talents when they presented a few songs in English.

The first group of students presented two action songs entitled, The Lady Fingers and The Rolling Pin.

Dean Rossilli [Right] and Soraya Alkaff-
Gilmour with young Ramzan Nur
In the next presentation, soloist Shaiful Qader, aged 11, blew us away with his strong vocals as he belted out, A Million Dreams, with the group as back-up choral singers.

Taken off the soundtrack of musical, The Greatest Showman, the audience listened in awe as the youngster sang the lyrics with deep emotion.

The partnership between Amari JB and the Community School was then sealed with a simple cake-cutting ceremony led by Rossilli and Soraya along with General Manager of Columbia Asia Hospital, Rohani Yaacob, Head of Corporate Communications for Damansara Assets, Ungku Aziz, and Kamalrolzaman from Maslee Sdn Bhd.

As a token of appreciation for initiating the Christmas Charity Card Sale, Soraya presented a gift to Rossilli in the form of a framed-up drawing by student, Ramzan Nur, aged nine.

Prior to the event, the hotel arranged for a team from the Columbia Asia Hospital to provide complimentary health checks on the students as well as a lesson in personal hygiene.

Red and the Flock Team from Angry Birds Activity Park JB
dancing to an action song with the students
During the gift presentations, the students were thrilled to receive complimentary entrance tickets to the Angry Birds Activity Park Johor Baru and goodie bags presented by Maslee Sdn Bhd.

The event closed with Red, a mascot from the Angry Birds Activity Park, and his Flock Team who entertained with a dance performance and later invited the students to join them to dance along to an action song.

Angry Birds Activity Park Johor Baru is at Level 3, KOMTAR Johor Baru City Centre, Jalan Wong Ah Fook while the Amari Johor Baru is at No. 82-C Jalan Trus, Johor Baru.

Enquiries for support and partnerships with Pertubuhan Kebajikan Cahaya Surya Bakti (CSB) can be sent to Email: 

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