Citizens Journal
Sat Feb 24 2024

BOLD's Holiday Mandarin Literacy Camp for Special Needs Children

Youth & Children

Learning to read and write in Mandarin can be daunting for some young children who have little exposure to the written form of the language but are still registered to attend Chinese medium schools. Realising the need to support youngsters with weak literacy skills, BOLD for Special Needs Children will hold a Holiday Mandarin Literacy Camp for children between 6 and 9 years old.

"We have been conducting Mandarin literacy classes since 2005 and have assisted over 1,700 children since," said Dr Tan Liok Ee, the President of BOLD, adding that the community-based, not-for-profit and tax-exempt organisation consistently holds such classes every year without fail.

"This reading camp is suitable for children who cannot read kindergarten or Primary One Chinese textbooks accurately or quickly." This includes children who are slow learners requiring extra support to keep pace with their peers.

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This year, the Mandarin Literacy Camp will be held nine days, from 26 February to 7 March 2024. It will run from Monday through Friday for the first week and Monday through Thursday for the second week. The camp will take place at SJKC Keong Hoe, Jalan Sungai Dua, 11700, Gelugor, Penang, from 10 am to 12 pm.

"The fee for this programme is RM200 after subsidy. However, for the underprivileged, we are offering the classes for only RM50," said Dr Tan, further elaborating that BOLD is dedicated to serving and empowering children with special needs and their families.

"Our intervention programmes are provided to children based on need. Children who can come to our centres pay nominal charges. Outreach services to preschools, schools and other institutions are provided free," he added.

BOLD was established in 1998 as the Bureau on Learning Difficulties, a working committee of the Penang Education Consultative Council led by Dato Dr Toh Kin Woon, with support from the Penang State Government initiative to improve educational services and facilities in the state.

"Starting with the humble objective of raising awareness about learning difficulties, BOLD's initiatives quickly expanded to include implementing intervention programmes in two activity centres. However, only one activity centre at Jalan Pemancar remains today," Dr Tan revealed.

In 2002, BOLD studied learning difficulties among Standard 1 children in Penang, which made them realise the need to work directly with children with learning difficulties. Two years later, BOLD conducted two intervention programmes for 37 children.

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"Within four years, we had grown to four different intervention programmes reaching 200 children with various learning difficulties.

"By 2008, BOLD had obtained official society registration, affirming our commitment to supporting children with special needs in Penang in the long term. We then began a partnership arrangement with Asia Community Services (ACS) to share costs and cover a wider range of programmes," Dr Tan explained.

BOLD's collaboration with ACS covered eight programmes, reaching 600 children annually. BOLD has positively impacted over 5000 children with special needs and their families.

"We had to stop all programmes at the height of the pandemic and are currently in transition, seeking to define more effective ways of working in a rapidly changing environment," said Dr Tan.

Those interested in knowing more about BOLD's activities may contact Jess Cheah through WhatsApp at 011-20684776, visit their website at or email [email protected] for more information.

You can also support their humble work via Sokong. Visit BOLD’s profile.

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by malaysiakini

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