PUTRAJAYA, 12 July 2018 – Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa (YSS), a foundation based within the Ministry of Education of Malaysia, organised a two-week ASEAN volunteerism immersion programme in the heart of the local community of Sarawak, Malaysia, from 5 to 21 July. The YSS-ASEAN Students Volunteer Mission to Sarawak, Malaysia 2018, was inaugurated with a launch and flag-off ceremony in Putrajaya, Malaysia. The programme  involved 200 student volunteers from all ten ASEAN Member States and China.

The students travelled to Sarawak, Malaysia, and occupied three camps located deep within the heart of the local communities. They underwent an intensive training programme aimed at familiarising them with the cultural and social norms of the local communities. Coupled with their academic area of interest, the students immersed themselves in the needs of the local communities and will perform such tasks as helping to plan and implement social activities for the community, develop academic and career counselling centres, and upgrade agri-bio levels in identified areas. They will also help enhance the awareness of the local community towards information and communication technology.

In his speech at the launch and flag-off ceremony, Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi  emphasised the importance of volunteerism for ASEAN as not only a community-building endeavour but also as a means for young people to learn life skills and broaden their education perspective which will aid in enhancing mobility of skilled persons in ASEAN.

“We need to be constantly aware, sensitive and rooted to our communities, especially those who are in need – to understand the heartbeat of the collective and to work with them in finding solutions that improve their lives and well-being,” the Secretary-General said.

On the sidelines of the event, Dato Lim paid a courtesy call on the new Education Minister of Malaysia Dr. Maszlee Malik. They discussed the education development agenda of ASEAN, and underscored the importance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training in this agenda. They also discussed the importance of maintaining strong relations with other Dialogue Partners through encouraging cooperation in common social development agenda.