Dignity for Children Foundation aims to empower underprivileged urban poor children to break the cycle of poverty through quality education, positively transforming their lives and the lives of the community around them. Dignity achieves this by establishing high quality learning centres under one roof for the poor; implementing specialised learning environments to develop children academically and socially thus empowering them to become productive members of society.
Started more than 15 years ago in Sentul with only 20 students Dignity is now a learning centre with 1,000 poor and vulnerable children ranging from 2-17 years old. It provides quality education and care in a secure environment for pre-school to Form 5. Many of the children had gone through the school and passed with O level qualifications. Without Dignity’s education provisions these underprivileged children would not be attending school and will be open to and engaged with undesirable activities in the streets.
History of Dignity for Children Foundation
Our work began in 1998 in reaching out to the community as the New Covenant Community church. Rev Elisha Satvinder and his wife Petrina soon discovered that many underprivileged families lived in the Sentul area. Deeply distressed by the ills which beset the poor they encountered they started to provide basic food, counselling and practical help for the needy. They also quickly realised that with the limited resources and manpower at their disposal this assistance will not have lasting impact. Believing that quality education was the key to breaking the cycle of poverty their efforts soon focused on education. What began as basic tuition classes soon attracted a daily attendance of over 50 students.
In 2003 Harvest Centre Berhad was generously donated by Rev. Eu Hong Seng for the growing social work. Under its aegis the first Montessori Preschool for the underprivileged opened its doors to 30 students in January 2004. In October 2008 Dignity for Children Foundation, a company with tax-exempt status, was generously donated by Dato’ Stanley Isaacs and Peter Ling for the work of Harvest Centre. By 2010 all of Harvest Centre Bhd’s educational programmes were transferred to Dignity for Children Foundation.
Dignity’s Education Philosophy
1. Child directed learning. We create an environment where children are respected and their participation is highly valued.
2. Intrinsic motivation. We do not practise the use of rewards and punishments as they can hinder the natural path of learning and the development of intrinsic motivation.
3. Teachers are directors and supporters. Our teaching is directed at letting the child take a step forward to assume control over their own learning while the teacher takes a step back to act as coach and mentor.
4. A holistic learning environment. We create a holistic environment that awakens the children’s faculties and deepens their sense of responsibility towards being good and responsible member of society.
5. Community of learners. We believe that effective learning takes place in a community.
Dignity’s Education Programmes
1. Early Childhood a. Montessori Toddler Stimulation b. Montessori Preschool
2. Primary Education a. Lower Primary b. Upper Primary
3. Secondary Education
a. Lower Secondary
b. Upper Secondary
4. Vocational Training
The FC is the first and only football and netball tournament of its kind in Malaysia. This is because it is more than a mere event; it is the first tournament to act as a voice of freedom and opportunity for underprivileged children. The FC was a result of a tragedy. In 2006 one of Dignity’s students, Faisal, drowned while trying to retrieve a football floating in the Gombak River. He never had an opportunity to play football, his squatter neighbourhood had no safe place to play. Faisal risked his life just for a chance to play with a RM20 ball. We believe that a child’s life is worth a lot more than an old ball. Thus the FC was initiated to ensure that children from underprivileged backgrounds had an equal opportunity to play in a safe environment. It began with just two teams. In 2014 there will be 144 teams comprising of children from Dignity and other learning centres for poor children.
Why Empower-a-Child at Dignity? As a direct service provider for education rather than a fundraising agency, we know each child entrusted to us and are committed to his/her success in breaking out from the cycle of poverty. Our experience with hundreds of children since 1998 assures us of the success of our programmes. Their continuity depends however on the regular support and generosity of donors who share our vision of transforming underprivileged children through quality education to become valuable members of their community.
How is my donation spent?
100% will be applied directly to benefit a child. Although we pair a donor to a child your contribution will be pooled with other contributions to fund the holistic care and quality education at a cost of RM6,000 per child per year. Pooled contributions go to continuous education, nutritious meals, health and hygiene care, sports and physical development, vocation development, education experience beyond classrooms and community support.
What does it cost to Empower-a-Child
Full child sponsorship per year: one time donation of RM600 or RM500 a month for a year
Partial child sponsorship: From RM50 a month / year will be pooled with other donors to sponsor a child for a year.