Coming from a broken home and living in hardship, many would have little inspiration to succeed. But that is not the case with N. Shamilin, 20, who was sent to a welfare home after her father walked out on the family when she was just a baby.Like many others, Shamilin could easily have ended in the streets with little future ahead of her. Fortunately, Montfort provided her with an avenue for her to make full use of her latent talents which will now give her the opportunity to chart her own destiny.
Shamilin kept the faith, and took up graphic design at the Montfort Boys Town. And on Sunday, Shamilin walked tall when she was presented the Best Graphic Designer Award and the Brother Henry Award for “Creativity Talent” at Montfort's graduation ceremony.
Much credit must be given to Montfort Boys Town for providing these individuals with a brighter future. Shamilin was among the 143 students who graduated with Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia certificates. To quote Shamilin:
“What I like most is that it provides holistic education. You don't only learn a particular skill here. Focus is also given on character formation, communication and living skills.”To give a bit of a plug to Montfort, it was first established in 1959, founded by four Brothers of St Gabriel's congregation at an abandoned rubber estate located at Batu Tiga, Selangor, Malaysia. The four Brothers had a special dream; a dream that there must be a home for underprivileged boys. In the eyes of many, these boys are worthless and good for nothing. But for these pioneering brothers, they are very special.
The name Montfort is in the honour of St Louis Marie de Montfort (1673-1716) of France, whose love for the poor is epitomised by the quote "Those whom the world rejects must move you the most".
Montfort Boys Town is an Institute of Public Character and is dependent on public donations for its operation. It costs Montfort more than RM2 million a year to operate. The bulk of the funds raised are through public donations. Public donations make up 75% of funding for Montfort, while the government grants make up only 10%.
Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat was the special guest at the graduation event.
Ong said the Government was grateful to Montfort for giving hope to people from needy families and orphans, and pledged to forward its request to exempt its students from national service to the Government.But I think the Government needs to do more than that - not just being "grateful". The government needs to see that there are the poor and forsaken in Malaysia who requires serious help, particularly an opportunity to acquire quality education for individuals such as the boy highlighted yesterday. Shamilin was fortunate, for Montfort was there for her. There are probably many many others who do not have that fortune. Institutes such as Montfort need greater support from the government, and these will be worthwhile expenditure for it will be spent on building a future for our youth, giving hope to the poor.
Malaysians should be provided assistance, irrespective of race, religion or creed and the education policy for the Malaysian Agenda must be drafted as such. Only then will the government be paying heed to the declaration provided by our Prime Minister, to "Provide Quality Education for All".
Note: You can donate (tax exempt) to Montfort Boys Town by printing out the donation slip.