The Good Shepherd Services (GSS) is launching a coffee table book entitled “Not My Mother’s Path” in conjunction with International Women’s Day (IWD) on Monday. It represents the collective strength of Tambunan’s daughters, mainly farmers, wives and mothers in voicing social concerns such as abuse and domestic violence and striving for economic empowerment.GSS Executive Director Chin Poh Choo said 200 copies of the 44-page book published by GSS have been printed initially.
Read full article Celebrating life of Tambunan Women
Food security is an increasing concern among tertiary students in Kota Kinabalu during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A report released by the Youth-PREP Centre (YPC) today revealed that 62% of the 110 students surveyed in a research about “Urban Poverty Among Youth in Kota Kinabalu'' have had to reduce their daily food intake in order to financially sustain themselves during this pandemic. The research, which aims to provide a baseline understanding of how youths may experience urban poverty, was participated by students in their third or final year of tertiary education at a private or public institution. Notably, the survey was centered on capturing the perspectives of youth in relation to urban poverty based on the knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) model. The three main dimensions of poverty that were investigated in this study were ‘Power’, ‘Money’ and ‘Access’. YPC calls upon the Government, private sectors, academic institutions and civil societies to uphold their collective responsibility of formulating a comprehensive strategy to address urban poverty.
Read full article Students tighten belt to survive pandemic
Youth-PREP Centre Encourages Youth to Pursue Digital Wellness during the Pandemic
As a final year student that is currently interning in Public Relations, I am counted as blessed to have this opportunity to work together with Youth-PREP Centre (YPC) during this pandemic especially when many have lost their jobs. Ever since the start of the pandemic, just about everything we do now is mostly online. In which, it can be mentally straining at times. Communication and guidance from my colleagues as well as having self-discipline became the key in shaping my experience working from home. This internship is rewarding because it gives me more understanding on how to apply my Public Relations skills in the community.
YPC recently hosted a Digital Wellness forum online, whereby Dr Shamsul Bahari Shamsudin from Universiti Malaysia Sabah, shared on how we should use technology only based on our needs. As this would help us find the balance in our digital usage. Also, it improves the quality of our day to day lifestyle as well as relationships. Hence, it is important to have a clear understanding of our intention when using technology.
Firstly, I believe that cultivating healthy habits is important as it leads to having a positive mindset. As a student, I would recommend that we can be more active in doing simple things like helping family prepare breakfast, do some stretches in the morning and also saying a prayer/giving thanks before starting the day. From my experience, this motivates me to be more productive as well as improving on my mental focus.
Moreso, I find it important to limit the usage of social media by taking breaks or temporarily deleting them to find a timeout on using them. Although social media can be addicting, I am able to connect better with my family when I choose to put away my device and actually spend time with them. Moreover, putting away our phone an hour before bed can actually help us improve on our sleeping habits and it prevents us from overthinking. Let us not forget that cultivating healthy habits does take determination.
As news can’t be avoided, I would encourage one to be alert when reading news to evaluate its accuracy and validity. This helps to create a safe place on and offline not only for ourselves but for others as well. In a way, we can’t let the media control us but we should be the ones controlling it.
YPC, a Centre operated by Good Shepherd Services, initiated an emotional-support careline that provides a platform for youth to speak and acknowledge their personal mental health and well-being. If you are seeking emotional support, please give Kawan BAH a call at 012-7753020.
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Public Relations Intern
“KAWAN BAH” CARE LINE FOR YOUTHS LAUNCHED
Youths who feel anxious and sad can now connect with the YouthPREP Centre (YPC) Alamesra through its “Kawan Bah” care line, a communication channel that encourages those entering young adulthood to acknowledge and speak about their personal mental health and well-being.
Launched on 16 July 2020 by the Sabah Minister of Youth and Sports, YB Phoong Jin Zhe, the care line which is available through call or WhatsApp to 012 7753020, was conceptualized based on the need to continue supporting youths as they cope with various personal issues amidst changing social environments following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Youths face multiple challenges when they are transitioning into young adulthood. At this formative phase of life, youth are often confronted with physical, social and emotional challenges that affect their mental health and overall well-being,” said Chin Poh Choo, the Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services, the social service agency which operates YPC.
“Yet, specific support for youths in the area of mental health and well-being tend to be overlooked, neglected, under-served and often unspoken,” she said.
“Youth can turn to this care line for support and assistance instead of having to deal with anxieties on their own. We want to encourage youth to be forthcoming in speaking out about their mental health and well-being. Hopefully this can contribute towards destigmatizing mental health,” Chin said.
The “Kawan Bah” care line accessible forms part of a larger project undertaken by YPC to promote mental health and well-being among tertiary students in five private institutions in Kota Kinabalu. The nine-month project called “Mind Matters: Supporting Youth Mental Health and Well-being during Covid -19” is also aimed at establishing a network of peer-to-peer support for students across the five private colleges to enable them to collectively have a voice and advocate for the mental health and well-being of youths in Sabah. This project will also see a collaboration of expertise between Good Shepherd Services and experts in the field of clinical psychology, counselling and research.
This annual 16 days of activism campaign was launched with a community run in Kg Pinipi, Sabah and at the Indian Recreation Club, Ipoh. The runs which drew encouraging participation from the local communities also provided the platform to increase awareness and support for the campaign.
For the 16 days of the campaign, various communities were engaged through a variety of activities to increase advocacy against gender-based violence, particularly in relation to rape.
The campaign which started on November 26, 2019 with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence ended on December 10, 2019 with International Human Rights Day.
'Simban noh Komulakan' which in the Dusun language means 'Youth, Transform' was the theme of Voice Out 9 (VO9) held in Ranau on November 2, 2019. VO9 challenged youth to positively embrace change and transform their mindset and attitudes on issues on gender equality, technology and care for our Earth.
For VO9, Mr Adrian Soidi, a local leading media personality was appointed the Youth Ambassador and facilitated a forum called "What's on Your Mind".
Voice Out is an annual youth festival that gives the youth in Sabah a chance to voice out their opinions on social issues around them.
The Asrama Komuniti Tulid had its year-end Thanksgiving celebration with all its students and parents at Kampung Sinua on the October 26, 2019. It was a celebration of gratitude for every successful activity and achievement by both residents and their family within the year of 2019 as well as to encourage unity among the students, parents and GSS staff.
FoodBANK Virtual Fun Run 2019 is a fundraising event in aid of the foodbank in Youth-PREP Centre (YPC) in Alamesra, Kota Kinabalu. 70 virtual runners participated in the first FoodBANK Virtual Fun Run 2019. YPC's foodbank serves university and college students in the area who have limited funds and struggle to meet the escalating cost of urban living.
EngageMENt held a joint dialogue with the Tambunan District Police on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) issues in the community on September 19, 2019. Among the findings of this dialogue is the need to acquire and maintain working knowledge on civil law, enforcement and related issues. Differences in the customary practices of each district in Sabah were also discussed as well as how to preserve forensic evidence from rape victims.
As part of socio-economic development, a project on corn cultivation for chicken feed by WEBL (Wirawati Enterprise Batu Lunguyan) was officially launched on August 18, 2019. The corn milling machines were sponsored by National Women Entrepreneurs of Malaysia. This project aimed to generate funds to run children programmes for advocacy against Sexual Gender-Based Violence and children protection in the community.
A community dialogue with the government agencies on the Safety and Protection of Children in the Community was held on July 26, 2019 and August 1, 2019. Our WSG (Women Support Group) seeks to conduct joint dialogues with government agencies as well as become empowered through learning social media how-to sessions; and undergo training on delivering sessions/modules and programme management.
On July 24, 2019, our Good Shepherd Community Service Centre in Ipoh conducted their first programme on Child Sexual Abuse for parents of Standard 4 students and teachers from SJK (T) Methodist. Nine parents and ten teachers participated in the programme. At the end of the session, the parents commented that the programme was very good and that it should be conducted for other parents in their respective areas too.
On July 6, 2019, Sr. Sandra and Jairin gave a short session to the children at Good Shepherd Community Service Centre in Ipoh on planting vegetables. After the session, the children were given two seeds each of lady fingers, long beans and brinjal to be planted in poly bags. Corn was also planted and all the children were very excited. They enjoyed having fresh produce that they have cultivated with their own hands.
In 2019, TAG (Tambunan Argonomics Programme) successfully planted two plots of ginger using the traditional method and fertigation method. Ginger powder and ginger flakes are now available for sale. Drop us an email at [email protected] or call us at +6 088 204 151 to make an order.
In 2019, a school programme for Standard 6 students was held in four schools – SK La Salle, SJK (T) Methodist, SK Guru Kalgidhar and SK Buntong. The objectives were to enhance students’ self-esteem and confidence; build and enhance the bond among family and friends and encourage group cohesiveness; assist students to determine their future goals; and support students in their transition to high school.
One Billion Rising (OBR), a worldwide movement against violence towards women aims at creating awareness on Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and our Youth-PREP Centre (YPC) supports this by engaging various communities throughout Sabah. YPC also takes the opportunity to promote the individual’s role in speaking up against injustice and to discuss various social issues that participants wish to engage in, such as, recycling and migration.
BAH Ceritalah! is a bi-monthly programme to encourage students to speak up on issues that concerns them. Issues that youths have raised include Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and urban poverty such as hunger. The acronym “BAH” stands for “Belia Ada Hak” or “Youth Have Rights”.
Every morning, Komuniti Van Sekolah (KVS) will start picking up students at 5am. The van makes two trips: the first trip picks up students at Kampung Tuawon and the second trip services Kampung Lanas's children. Both points are kilometres away from the nearest high school of SMK Tulid in Sook. Prior to KVS, students often walked the length of the journey and the arduous miles coupled with the rise of underage marriages often prevent these students from completing their studies. KVS, run by a committee made up of parents, is directly helping to increase the attainment of education in these communities.
The objectives of KMS (Keeping Me Safe) are for participants to identify risks that can prevent their safety and strategies to keep themselves safe. Our ADP (Asrama Desa Pukak) team has gone to both primary and secondary schools in Kiulu district where the ADP hostel is located.
Home visits to families enable the ADP (Asrama Desa Pukak) team to better understand ADP children's family background and to allow team members to discuss children's behaviour in ADP with their parents. ADP children and families are happy to receive visits from the team, and these visits occur on weekends and during school holidays when children leave ADP to stay with their families.
ADP (Asrama Desa Pukak) children spend Sunday through to Thursday nights at the hostel and leave for home on Friday afternoon to spend the weekend with their families. During school holidays and public holidays, children also leave ADP for home. Besides supervision in their schoolwork, ADP children also learn living and co-living skills such as washing their own clothes and shoes, making their beds, tidying up their own living space and the common spaces and caring for the compound of the hostel.
Sexual and gender-based violence towards women and the girl child is at the very heart of GSS’s mission. We take the position that every girl child is born with dignity and inherent rights that entitle her to a childhood and opportunities to realise her potential as a person, a woman and a contributing member of society.
In the 2018 Orange The World (OTW) campaign, we highlighted how child marriage is one of the many forms of sexual-gender based violence (SGBV) faced by the girl child, and promoted our slogan, “Say ‘No’ to violence against the girl child.” As part of the 16 days of activism promoted through the OTW campaign, we also launched a booklet featuring 16 reflection articles. The compelling stories speak truthfully of the transgressions, trauma, and conflicts related to the various forms of SGBV experienced by the girl child.
Thank you Canada Fund for Local Initiatives for supporting us in this campaign.
The theme of our eighth instalment of the Voice Out youth festival was “Dare to Stand Up – Bangkitlah". The festival was a resounding success, with more than 800 visitors attending on September 29 in Pisompuruan Square, Tambunan. The highlight of the festival was a forum entitled “Just A Child, Not A Bride” which discussed the issue of child marriage with panellists such as Amy Dangin (KK12FM radio announcer), Elsie Primus (High Court deputy registrar), Philip Kitingan (District Chief) and Rex Alvin (previously with UNICEF). Other attractions included musical performances, a free market and promotional booths.
GSS Executive Director Chin Poh Choo was asked to weigh in on the issue of raising the minimum marriage age to 18 and her comments were published in The Star Online on September 29. According to Chin, 18 years should be the minimum marriage age as this would enable the individuals to at least complete their secondary education before getting married. She also dismissed the idea of child marriages as being a way out of poverty, especially for families living in rural areas. “A child is still a child regardless where they come from”, said Poh Choo.
GSS appeared in the news to support the calls to raise the minimum marriage age to 18 as the move would protect the best interest of girls, especially those from hard-to-reach rural communities. The priority should be on empowering these girls to be self-sufficient and giving them equal access to their right to an education. The issue of child marriage cannot be addressed in isolation, as it is connected with many other socioeconomic and emotional issues. It will be more effective if a multi-sectoral approach is adopted to provide more sustainable solutions.
Read the full article Support for Marriage Age.
Komuniti Van Sekolah enables children from poor and vulnerable communities to access their right to an education and to attend schools on a regular basis.
We thank Astro Awani journalist Tan Su Lin and cameraman Sujenthiran for the coverage.
For the original story, please go to Astro Awani.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international awareness-raising campaign. It takes place every year from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to December 10 (International Human Rights Day).
Since 2008, the UN Women, under the “Orange the World” umbrella, has been galvanising global attention and action to end violence against women and girls. The official colour used is orange, which symbolises a bright and optimistic future free from violence against women and girls.
The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) and Good Shepherd Services (GSS) stood together to raise awareness and to call Malaysians of all faiths to reflection and action to end violence against women and children. The tagline for our 16 Days campaign in 2017 was “Orange The World: Say No to Violence Against Women and Children”, with the focus on human trafficking of women and children.
Hundreds of friends and supporters of Good Shepherd thronged the KL PAC to celebrate 60 years of Good Shepherd presence in Malaysia by attending the “Yours Musically – The Dama Favourites” concert on Thursday, October 13, 2017.
It was truly a joyful night of reminiscence and reunion – where old friendships were renewed and new ones made.
In her welcome speech, Sister Joan Lopez, the Province Leader of Good Shepherd Singapore-Malaysia, expressed her deep gratitude to all who have contributed to the development of the Mission since its establishment on 5 November 1956.
Read a transcript of Sister Joan Lopez's speech.
GSS organised a One Billion Rising (OBR) campaign in solidarity with the global movement to end rape, sexual crimes and the exploitation of women.
This call to action campaign held every February since 2012 is one of the largest global efforts to raise awareness and work towards ending abuse and violence experienced by women and girls. Using creative means that include dance, skits, poems and music to promote the cause, GSS has been actively promoting this annual campaign through its various programme services in Sabah.
The 2017 campaign reached out to more than 2,000 parents, teachers, students and members of the community around Sabah. OBR is an opportunity to connect with the wider community to heighten awareness, strengthen passion and build the commitment to prevent violence against women. It is about collectively rising up, speaking out and taking affirmative action to curb the epidemic culture of violence through the exploitation of girls and women.
Karen Tai, GSS Advocacy Officer was one of the presenters at the one day "Safeguarding: Why Must the Children Suffer?" conference held at St Ignatius Church in Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya. The conference was organised by Archdiocesan Single Adults & Youth Ministry (Asayo) in collaboration with the Archdiocesan Ministry of Mental Health, GSS and Parish Integral Human Development Ministry (PIHDM) of SIC. Tai stressed the need to create more awareness and educate parents by being vigilant, fostering a safe and trusting relationship with their children, having good communication with them, educating their children on how to protect themselves, and setting rules for Internet usage.
There was a buzz of excitement in the kitchen at our centre in Ipoh. The voices of women were just above a whisper as their busy hands shaped the cookies that would be going into the oven and then packed into hampers and gift bags.
Some were regulars who volunteered their time each time the festive occasion comes around, while others stepped in to help out this time.
The orders came in right after Christmas and the volunteers in Ipoh were busy baking every week to fulfil the demand so that the hampers and bags could be picked up and delivered in time for Chinese New Year celebrations.
The Symposium held from October 30-31, brought together some 50 young leaders from around the globe to devise solutions to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The focus this year was on finding solutions to achieve SDG 4 and SDG 8, with additional emphasis on target 8.7. SDG 4 aims to ensure inclusive and equitable education while SDG 8 promotes sustainable economic growth so that there is decent work for all. The emphasis on 8.7 is due to the pressing current concern of trafficking and slavery of youth.
GSS Programme Officer, Jellferlyne Joseph was Malaysia’s representative and she presented her paper entitled “Advocacy and Community Empowerment Programme”. It detailed the injustices faced by migrant workers’ children in the state of Sabah, steps taken to empower them through the sharing of their stories and helping them find opportunities for self-development, as well as advocating their issues to various stakeholders.
After 16 days of spirited campaigning to end violence against women and children as part of Orange The World 2016, GSS marked the end of the campaign by celebrating International Human Rights Day on December 10.
The Human Rights Day theme “Stand Up for Someone’s Rights Today” focused on advocating for the rights of defenceless children.
GSS staff and volunteers from the states of Perak, Selangor and Sabah conducted a variety of programmes that reached out to some 3,000 people, to educate both the young and old on what constituted child abuse and how it can be prevented.
View snapshots of the 2016 Human Rights Day Celebration.
GSS mobilised its manpower around Malaysia over the last 16 days in an effort to support the worldwide movement to end violence against women and children.
“This year, we focused our campaign on non-violence against children to address the vulnerability of children to various forms of violence as well as call for affirmative action to end such violence. We should instead protect and celebrate children,” GSS Executive Director Chin Poh Choo said.
During the campaign period, GSS staff in Perak, Selangor and Sabah held talks, workshops and activities in schools, universities, and churches to highlight and educate the public on what is child abuse, how to recognise the symptoms, and steps to take in order to protect our children. Flyers with additional information were also distributed.
It is common for most people to be thinking of taking a break or planning a holiday at the end of the year, but not for the Good Shepherd cookie-baking volunteers. Every year-end, a group of ladies in Ipoh will come together for some serious work of producing high quality cookies for sale.
The “Just So Good” cookies are baked for Christmas and Chinese New Year, and all proceeds from the sale go towards Good Shepherd projects which help empower marginalised women and children.
“It is tiring work as we are on our feet most of the time, but we all know that this is for something good,” said volunteer Lilian Reutens. Long-serving volunteer Rosaline Phang considers her effort as part of the Good Shepherd mission. Theresa Lau agreed and added that she derives great joy in serving. These ladies take great pride in their work and appreciate the praises heaped on them for their cookies.
Early this year, 16-year old Angelia Ann Saimon moved 45 kilometres away from her home at a farming village in the interior district of Sabah to a hostel just so that she could stay in school.
The hostel known as Asrama Komuniti Tulid (AKT) is the result of a collaboration between GSS and the Diocese of Keningau. Set up in January 2016, AKT is located just half a kilometre away from the secondary school which Angelia attends SK Tulid.
AKT is managed by a house mother and a small pool of volunteers. Apart from food and accommodation, the girls also have access to enrichment classes and are also taught independent life skills such as cooking and food cultivation.
We at GSS join global efforts to empower the lives of girls as we celebrate the fifth annual International Day of the Girl Child on October 11. Click here for more info on this special day.
Mary Anne Baltazar's dedication to improving the lives of migrants, especially children who have little or no access to education and healthcare, has won her top accolade in the state of Sabah.
Anne was named the "Top Outstanding Young Persons of Sabah 2016" for her contribution to Children, World Peace or Human Rights by JCI Kota Kinabalu. JCI Kota Kinabalu is one of the 140 chapters of Junior Chamber International, the world's largest non-profit leadership and training organisation for the young people with the aim of creating positive changes in the world.
Anne credited the Good Shepherd mission for shaping her views and thoughts. "I feel very blessed and grateful to be part of this group of people who call themselves the Good Shepherd mission partners, because they are truly, truly, one of the most sincere, passionate, fearless and compassionate people I know, always wanting to reach out to the most marginalised," she said.
2016 marked the 60th anniversary of the Good Shepherd Sisters' presence in Malaysia! From its humble beginnings of a convent in Jalan Ampang, Good Shepherd mission has evolved to include residential and hostel facilities, outreach programmes and micro enterprise projects for disadvantaged women, children and youths in the states of Selangor, Perak and Sabah. In celebration of Good Shepherd's 60 years presence in Malaysia, PKGS hosted a fund raising musical concert "Yours Musically: The Dama Favourites" on Thursday, October 13, 2016 at KL PAC. All proceeds from this event went towards Good Shepherd programmes and activities benefitting women and children in need.
GSS social economic project at the village of Kiau Nuluh, Sabah has become a beacon of hope for those who work on empowering indigenous communities in Malaysia.
Koonduan Kiau Nuluh Enterprise (KKNE), conceived as a social and economic response to the devastating 2015 earthquake, was one of success stories highlighted at the National Economic Empowerment Conference (NEEC) in Kota Kinabalu. Koonduan means women in Dusun language.
The project, which began its pilot phase in August 2015 with 11 women from the village, saw the production and marketing of chutney and jam made from pineapple harvested from their farms at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu. This initiative was aimed at encouraging the community to work and heal together, while rebuilding their livelihood. Because of its success, the pilot project was expanded to the Community Phase in January, where a total of 49 women worked hand-in-hand to produce the popular all-natural and preservative-free pineapple chutney and jam.
Click here for more on the pineapple chutney and jam story.
City living is tough! Rural youth migrating to urban cities in pursuit of education opportunities offered by private tertiary institutions and the lure of student loans are increasingly confronted with the challenge of making ends meet. Some quickly discover that they can only afford one measly meal a day just to make ends meet.
It was due to an encounter with such students that the "BAH Makan" programme was conceptualised by our YouthPREP Centre Alamesra in June 2016. This two-pronged programme entailed the provision of a simple but nutritious dinner to students on the first and third Monday of the month at our YouthPREP Centre. A food bank was also set up at the centre to enable students to bring food supplies back home with them.
The global theme this year for International Women's Day (IWD) was "Make It Happen", in encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women.
In line with IWD's call for greater equality in financial independence of women and growth of women owned businesses, our rural community development outreach ministry in the Mukim of Tulid in Keningau, Sabah, recognised the achievements of a resourceful and talented group of women who dared to put their dream into action by setting up their own small business enterprise.
With their hard work, courage and a small loan from the state government, these women came together to set up a shop in their district consisting of a mini market, a home bakery and tailoring services. As the women related their story on how this venture came into being, they were beaming with a sense of empowerment and achievement of how they dared to take the risk to "Make It Happen".
Today, the various Good Shepherd grass-roots services work with women and girls in 72 countries who are constrained by situations that are the same, or often worse, than those that existed in 1995. Under the current model of economic globalisation, women and girls who are living in extreme poverty and denied access to basic services are highly susceptible to forces of irregular migration, prostitution, and trafficking for sexual and /or labour exploitation." The Good Shepherd Sisters submitted a Statement to the 59th Commission on the Status on Women (with the main focus on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action).
Rose Virginie Good Shepherd Centre in Ipoh extended its sales of homemade festive goodies to Klang Valley. Each festive season, volunteers will come together to bake cookies that will be sold to raise funds to help sustain the centre in Ipoh.