One day as I was googling for ‘volunteering opportunities with children in Malaysia’, SUKA Society appeared as one of my top results. So I decided to enter the website just to have a look. I was inspired by the work that SUKA Society was doing and somehow I felt the urge to email for more information. I am really glad that I did, because it has truly been an eye-opening experience. Not only did I gain better insights into the issues of human trafficking in Malaysia, I was also given the opportunities to visit the women and children protection homes, to play a part in the trafficked victims’ lives.
The experiences that I treasure the most would be my visits to the trafficked children’s protection home. Not that I did not enjoy my time with the trafficked women, but instead, this volunteering experience had allowed me to realise my greater heart and compassion for children. I feel more connected and attached to the children, after only one visit, as compared to the women victims. I felt that although the children might look just like me physically, or even like the things that I like, they definitely went through a whole different life journey than I did. Just thinking about the hardships and traumas that they could have been through at such a tender age really hurts me. Now that I can’t do much legally or professionally to help them, I feel that every little bit that I can do, such as playing and dancing with them, to make them happy even only for that few hours is better than nothing at all. Seeing the smiles on their faces after each activity never fails to bring joy to my heart.
Towards the end of my first visit, the children even asked Tsuey Xin (Volunteer) and I if we could find them some Hokkien and Hakka songs. They even requested some with specific titles, songs that both of us have not heard of, but we told them that we would try our best to search for the songs anyway. On our next visit, I was surprised at how ecstatic they were when they heard the requested songs being played on the radio! Some of them even stepped up immediately and started dancing to the songs. At that moment, I realised that I do not need to do something significantly big to make a difference in their lives, just something as simple as finding them their favourite music and being together with them would do too. Before I left that day, one of the girls even asked for my facebook details to keep in touch, and so I gave it to her. It was very rewarding to know that the effort and hours that I have spent searching the songs for them, was worth it. Although I’ve only met them for a few times, they’ve made such a strong impact in my life that I know I will always remember them.
Additionally, I also feel that we were not only giving during the sessions, but at the same time receiving from the victims as well. One of the most important values that I have learnt from both the trafficked children and women is the value of ‘unity’. Despite of their wide range of nationalities and language barriers, I see very little discrimination against the different races, especially between the teenagers in the children’s home. There were a total of 16 victims in the children’s home, which included two Vietnamese and all the others were either Malaysians or could at least communicate with the Malay language. Whenever the Vietnamese girls could not understand the instructions that were given for the games, the others will always try their best to use body language or simple Vietnamese to explain to them what was being told. It was very heart-warming to see no discrimination between the different races, but love and understanding for each other instead.
Finally, for all the experiences that I have gained, I would really like to thank SUKA Society, for this opportunity to volunteer despite of my limited availability. It is because of SUKA Society’s genuine concern for people that I believe the NGO will achieve far greater things ahead. On top of it all, I have also made some great friends through the experience. It will definitely be one of the experiences that I will never forget. I am hoping that I can take and use the knowledge that I have gained through this experience to help the victims further in the future.