Children at Batu Grace Children’s Home in Kulim face significant educational challenges due to varied backgrounds and traumas. Many struggle with basic knowledge in Science and Mathematics due to gaps in their education, further compounded by difficulties adapting to digital learning platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic. The home accommodates about 40 children, some of whom have never attended school or have dropped out, making it essential to provide foundational education and tuition classes.

Focusing on digital literacy and STEM education, recent initiatives aim to ignite interest in these critical subjects, fostering curiosity and academic engagement among the children. Supported by a Community Grant from Universiti Sains Malaysia and driven by dedicated volunteers, these efforts emphasize a collaborative approach to empower underprivileged children through targeted educational interventions and comprehensive support.

The educational initiatives included the following workshops:

Introduction to Computer, Windows OS & MS-Office Software

This workshop provided foundational digital literacy skills crucial for modern education and professional development. The children learned to navigate the Windows operating system, manage files, and utilize Microsoft Office applications such as Word for document creation, Excel for basic data analysis, and PowerPoint for presentations. These skills not only bolstered their confidence in using technology but also prepared them for academic tasks and future career opportunities requiring digital proficiency.

Introduction to Arduino: Hands-On Learning for Kids

In this workshop, children explored Arduino, an open-source electronics platform. They received Arduino boards, electronic components (including LEDs, sensors, and motors), and tools necessary for building circuits and writing code using the Arduino IDE. Guided by instructors, they learned programming fundamentals and applied them to create projects like light displays and basic robots. This interactive approach sparked their creativity and developed critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they troubleshooted and iterated their designs.

Hands-On STEM: Building a Remote Control DIY Project

The culmination of the workshops was this hands-on project, where children applied their newfound skills to construct RC cars. The grant supported the purchase of remote-control components, construction materials, and tools essential for assembling functional vehicles. Through teamwork and collaboration, they tackled challenges in circuit design, mechanical assembly, and programming, culminating in the successful operation of their RC cars. This project-based learning experience not only reinforced STEM principles but also instilled a sense of achievement and pride in the children as they witnessed the tangible outcomes of their efforts.

These workshops, facilitated by the Community Grant from Universiti Sains Malaysia and supported by volunteers from the Engineering Indian Cultural Club (EICC), provided a transformative educational experience for the children at Batu Grace Children’s Home. Beyond imparting technical skills, these workshops nurtured curiosity, confidence, and a passion for learning among the participants, empowering them to pursue academic excellence and future opportunities in STEM-related fields. The combined efforts of the grant, donors, and volunteers underscored the university's commitment to community outreach and educational equity, fostering a lasting impact on the lives and educational trajectories of these underprivileged children.

The grant was led by Dr. Jagadheswaran Rajendran and Dr. Selvakumar Mariappan from Universiti Sains Malaysia, whose strategic oversight ensured the successful implementation of these initiatives.