December 4, 2017, by Wan Yong Ho
Refugee Kids Visit on World Refugee Day
Two groups of refugee school students from Sunway Mentari and Ideas Academy Learning Centres visited the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus on 20 June 2017. These kids come from various countries, mainly from Myanmar and Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
As the undergraduate Biomedical Sciences students, we were honoured and delighted to be given a golden opportunity to be involved in this meaningful activity – ‘Promoting Science using Microscope’, a collaborative project between the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the Royal Microscopical Society (RMS). We were also being informed that the learning centre of these kids did not have any scientific equipment for them to learn hands-on scientific skills. The school kids were divided into two groups: the younger kids participated the RMS Microscopy Activity by Dr Alice Kong Cin, whereas the elder kids joined the DNA Extraction Activity, led by Assoc. Prof. Dr Ho Wan Yong.
For RMS Microscopy Activity, the students were divided into groups of three and the activity began with an introduction on “How to Use a Microscope”. We as the student helpers, led different groups of students and taught the kids on how to use magnifying glasses and simple light microscopes. Along the process, they were exposed to the scientific principles on how the magnifying glass and microscope work and the differences between these two devices. Most of them have never seen a real microscope before and this was their first-time hands on experience with microscope. We were delighted to see their excitement and enthusiastic participation in the event.
The student became even more excited when they were given the task to collect various specimens from the environment, including grasses, leaves, sand and rocks to view under the microscope. Some of the kids managed to find live insects to view under the microscope as well. Another highlighted activity was the ‘Solving a Crime’ game where the students play the role as detective to capture the main culprit from multiple suspects by using the given clues. This activity required the students to observe a few pieces of evidence collected from crime scene using magnifying glasses and microscope. The groups which managed to find out the culprit were given prizes from the department. Upon completion of the 2-hour microscope activity, the school kids and their teachers were taken for a campus tour, leading by the student helpers.
Through this activity, we learnt that most Malaysian kids are fortunate because most of us have the privilege to receive formal education throughout our life. We should treasure what we have and complain less. This activity inspired us to volunteer especially in education awareness because we know that education is important to change one’s life. We are happy that these children have the chance to stay and receive education in Malaysia. We hope to cultivate the interest towards science among these children through the use of microscope in this activity. We managed to chat with some of them and got to know that they aim to become doctor, lawyer and scientist in the future. We do hope that all of them will become great people in the near future!
Article by: Chong Zhi Xiong and Josephine Magdalyn Tan (BMS year 3 students)