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  The Humble Beginning  
 

It all started in 1968 because of a need - a need which was noticed by the school principal at that time, Mr. Peter Tay. He noticed that there were students who came to school without breakfast and did not have any food for recess. So, he approached a member of his staff and asked whether the teacher would be willing to take up the challenge of providing bread for the 100 odd students who came to school with hungry stomach.

After a thorough survey, it was discovered that there were really such poor students in our midst. The teacher, assisted by a group of young enthusiastic Form Four students, accepted this noble task.

This project was made possible with strong financial support from the late Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Lee Loy Seng, the Honourable Mr. Yong Su Hean and contributions from the teaching staff of SMJK Yuk Choy, Ipoh.

In response to appeals made by the Catholic Welfare Services Malaysia, on behalf of our school,
(i) Singapore Cold Storage Company in Ipoh supplied bread daily at a much discounted price,
(ii) Lam Soon Company Ltd. Malaysia provided us with free margarine,
(iii) While a kind mother consented to prepare the ‘kaya’ for the bread.

For the next 5 years, the project continued. Sad to say, when our young principal, who mooted this project, went on a transfer, along with him went our benefactors. Thus the bread programme died a natural death... financially smothered.

But, 25 years later, these Form Four students of 1968 and all those who once benefited from this scheme, came forward and wanted to do their ‘bit’ as a token of appreciation for all the blessings they have received in one way or another. They wanted to revive and enforce this project permanently if possible. This is the great gift of sharing with the poor and needy of the school.

Then, in 1993, under the leadership of the principal, Mr. Cheah Bee Teik and Mr. Ang Ken Meng (Senior Assistant of Students’ Affairs) as the Chairman, a small committee, comprising of teaching staff, was set up.

With strong, unceasing financial assistance from the former students and well-wishers, this Student Welfare Unit has grown and spread its wings to provide for the needy students with the following aid:
(i) food coupon for recess
(ii) transport/bus fare
(iii) school uniform, shoes, socks
(iv) exercise books, writing materials, reference books
(v) school miscellaneous fees
(vi) examination fees, and
(vii) personal loans for further studies.

During these few years, with all the love, effort and commitment from all parties, the Student Welfare Unit has constantly collected...

 
 
  A. Rationale and Objectives  
 
 

In third world and developing countries, education is often assigned the role of breaking the vicious cycle of poverty. It has always been a known fact that educated individuals are the ones who can secure higher salaried jobs, whereas those with little or no education are mostly engaged in extremely low salaried employment.

For this reason, free education is made available to all Malaysian children right up to pre-university level. However, being enrolled in schools does not always yield the desired outcome. It has long been established that there is a close correlation between students’ performance in school and the social economic status of their families.

A child who comes to school hungry, or not being able to pay for bus fare or examination fees, without workbooks or exercise books can hardly be expected to be at par with his/her fellow classmates in terms of academic performance.

SMJK Yuk Choy does have her fair share of students in this predicament. The Student Welfare Unit was set up specially to cater to the basic schooling needs of this group of students. This has been and will always remain the primary objective of the Student Welfare Unit.

The activities of the Students Welfare Unit are also consistent with the caring culture which is being promoted among the populace of SMJK Yuk Choy. The services provided by this Unit are open demonstrations that there are people who will love and care, without any expectations or conditions attached. This message is especially important in view of the fact that many of the students ‘adopted’ by this Unit have had bitter experiences which might have disillusioned them and caused them to lose faith in mankind.

One of the ways in which the Student Welfare Unit secure fund for its program is through fund-raising activities organized from time to time. These activities will serve to bring together ex-students of SMJK Yuk Choy, so that old ties are renewed and fellowship strengthened. The onus of the viability and success of the Student Welfare Unit rests entirely on the shoulders of the ex-students of SMJK Yuk Choy.

 
 
  B. Organization  
 
 

The affairs and fund of the Student Welfare Unit are currently administered and managed by a committee comprising entirely of the staff of SMJK Yuk Choy. All those serving in the committee do so voluntarily. Besides their keen interest and readiness to render their services, they are in the committee because of their positions in schools whereby they are constantly dealing with the welfare of the students.

The committee comprises the Principal of SMJK Yuk Choy who is the advisor of the Welfare Unit, the Senior Assistant of Students’ Affair and a few voluntary teachers. They are responsible for all matters concerning students ‘adopted’ by the Welfare Unit.

 
 
  C. Modus Operandi  
 
 

The bulk of the activities of the Student Welfare Unit are in the
(i) administration of aid to needy students and
(ii) fund raising

Administration of Aid
Twice a year, i.e. January and June, an announcement will be made to inform the students that they can apply to the Student Welfare Unit for assistance should there be any need. However, a student may be accepted into the welfare program at any other times should there be a need. Application forms will be processed and the students will be interviewed. Interviews with parents or guardians, and sometimes home visits will be conducted. The applicant’s family income, family expenses, number of school-going children in the family, are some of the selection criteria.

The status of the students on the welfare program is reviewed half-yearly to determine whether the aid is to be continued or terminated if the students’ financial rating has improved. Though academic achievement is not a requirement for new applicants, those placed on the welfare program must show there is improvement in their school work since the Welfare Unit has provided them with materials and fares, the lack of which has been perceived as contributing factors to their poor performance in school.

Successful applicants may be put on one of the following welfare schemes.
One-to-one sponsorship
(i) Full aid or
(ii) Partial aid

In the first instance, a student is adopted by an organisation or an individual who will contribute a definite sum monthly for the up-keep of that particular student. A student receiving full aid will have his bus fare, food, uniform, exam fees, and other necessary schooling expenses met by the Welfare Unit. A student who receives partial aid will be given one or more of the above according to his/her needs.

Fund- Raising Projects
Money required for the welfare program is from the following sources:
(i) Collection of donations, mainly from ex-students of SMJK Yuk Choy
(ii) Interest from fixed deposits in commercial banks and
(iii) Fund-raising projects

The first fund-raising project was initiated in 1991 where a small scale canteen day was held to start the ball rolling. Fund-raising projects are organized when the need arise. Besides the sales of food during sports day or canteen day, Jogathon PIBG 1996 and SMJK Yuk Choy Reunion Dinner 1997, were two large successfully conducted fund-raising projects. Thereafter, the scale of operation was enlarged and the contributions snow-balled.

 
 
  D. Students Benefiting from the Welfare Program  
 
 

From the first day of its operation in December 1993, the Student Welfare Unit has helped to improve the quality of life for an average of 21 SMJK Yuk Choy students per year. A breakdown of those who benefited, by year, is shown in the table below.

 
 
 
  E. Vision for the Future  
 
 

The Student welfare Unit of SMJK Yuk Choy was revived in December 1993 with barely RM16, 000. Since then, it has grown. The figure in the table above shows clearly that the number of students benefiting from its program steadily increases year to year. This is only possible due to the strengthening of its financial status. Its welfare fund has swelled to quite a substantial amount where it is put into fixed deposit with commercial banks. At the present moment, a huge amount has been utilised to provide the aid that is needed. The latest is in the form of personal study loans given out this year, 2008, to four students who are presently furthering their education in Taiwan.

 
 
  Acknowledgement  
 
 

The Student Welfare Unit would like to express its heart-felt appreciation to all those who have been giving their staunch support in its activities since its inception in 1993. Special mention must be accorded to that group of ex-students from SMJK Yuk Choy who had once benefited from the original ‘Bread Program’ under the leadership of the former principal, Mr. Peter Tay, AMN. When they were hungry and in financial dilemma, their silent cry for help was answered. Having gone through such an experience, and are now very secure financially, they have come back to do their part. They are now the catalyst to the active role of the Student Welfare Unit.

It is ardently hoped that one day the students being helped presently may also do well in society and walk in the footsteps of their predecessors.

 
 
 
 

Left: Recipients of morning session students with the school Principal, seniors assistants and members of Welfare committee.

Right: Recipients of afternoon session students with the school afternoon senior assistant and members of Welfare committee.

 
 
 
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