February 27, 2018, by Lee Mei Kee
Health and Science Camp Day with Refugee Kids
On the 1st of February, the Department of Biomedical Sciences, the Biomedical Sciences Society and Rotaract Club organized a Health and Science Camp Day for refugee kids under the project “Promoting Science Using Microscopes” funded by Impact Nottingham (Cascade). The refugee kids came from three schools around the Klang Valley namely, Selayang Harmony School, Manna House Learning Centre and Sunway Mentari Learning Centre. A total of 46 kids arrived with 4 teachers. The kids were mainly from Myanmar but a few were from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Jordan. The event held included these experiments enzyme reactions, crystallization and exploring life using microscopes loaned by the Royal Microscopial Society (RMS) United Kingdom. The experiments were run concurrently with a free eye check. After lunch the students were shown an educational documentary.
The children and their teachers were received by student volunteers and were all led to the Microbiology lab in Block C where they were welcomed by Prof. Ting, Dr. Then and the student volunteers from the Biomedical Sciences Society and Rotaract Club. All kids were given lab coats and gloves and lab manuals which contained details of the experiments to be carried out. The kids were very excited to be in a lab environment and were eager to find out what they were going to be doing. The kids were divided into 15 groups with each group comprising 3 to 4 kids supervised by a student volunteer.
The student leader, Chong Zhi Xiong (Year 3 BMS student), gave his briefing on the protocols of the experiments with assistance from student volunteers. The experiments included studying the fermentation process of yeast and understanding the factors that affect the fermentation process.
The second experiment was to understand about the formation of crystals using sodium tetraborate and magnesium sulphate. Crystals formed were viewed under the RMS microscope. They were required to answer a few questions pertaining to the principle of crystals formation. The last part of the science activity was to view various bugs under the microscopes. In particular, they were asked to compare the different structural parts of insects and spiders. Throughout the experiments, the kids were required to record observations and answer questions laid out in the lab manual.
At the end of the science activities, five groups which had good observations and answers were awarded with prizes by Prof. Ting. Majority of these children have not had the opportunity to have their vision check. Running concurrent with the science activities, the organisers have invited Mr Paul Tan from New Mega Optics and his assistant to carry out eye check. A total of 23 kids were found to have impaired vision and they were asked to select their choice of spectacles frame. The fitting of these glasses has been arranged for 29th March 2018 at one of the schools. These glasses will be provided at no cost to these children thanks to the generous donation of these private donors: Adeline Ting, Priyanka Jagadish, Jagadish Pillai, Sudha Menon, May Lim, Daniel and Trinity Spowage.
At 12pm, the kids were brought to the cafeteria for lunch. After lunch two video documentaries on vision and the immune system were screened for the kids at F4LG06. At 2pm, we bid farewell to the kids and they were very thankful for the day they had which was fun-filled and educational.
This event left an impact on the student volunteers as we realized how privileged we are to be able to have access to a world class education here at the University of Nottingham. It also taught us the importance of giving back to the community. We are delighted that we have helped cultivate interest in science in particular for this group of under privilege students. One of the kids shared about her aspiration to become a doctor, and we hope that after this event she would be more inspired and determined to fulfill her dream.
Article by: Sanjivan Gabriel Visvanathan (Year 2) and Ng Chin Wen (Year 1)