In December last year, we paid a visit and sent a box of books to Yayasan Chow Kit (YCK), managed by the Nur Salam Foundation.
If you know Chow Kit well, then you’ll know immediately that it is considered a high-risk area for kids. The YCK centres (yes, they run three!) aim to provide a safe and positive space in the Chow Kit area. They have a daycare centre for new born babies until the age of 4, an activity centre which includes dorm space, and a classroom for kids aged 5 – 13, and a youth activity centre for kids older than 13.
Alissa and I visited the “Pusat Aktiviti Kanak-Kanak” which caters to kids 5-13. Although we didn’t get to spend much time with the children, we did briefly introduce them to the books. The kids were actually attending an arts and crafts lesson at the time! The centre is run in a structured way, with regular social workers and teachers spending time with the kids for different sessions– be it arts and crafts, computer skills, or games.
As a testament to what the safety condition was like, the centre was tightly guarded by a security guard at the entrance. We weren’t allowed to come up until he radio-ed an administrator upstairs who would then give him the go-ahead to let us in! The administrator said this was because some adults, who are not the children’s parents, have tried to take the children out from the centre. Sometimes, some young kids may also be easily influenced by the violence they see on the streets or at home, and have exhibited violent behaviour, which requires a bit of assistance tackling. And sometimes, the kids have tried to run away from the centre, so having a tough security guard in the front helps keep them in check, and inside!
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