Over 30 children with special needs, and their parents, were the beneficiaries of The UNO, a social responsibility initiative by students of INTI International College Subang’s Diploma in Mass Communication programme. Apart from providing support through fun activities to the children and their parents, the initiative also sought to create awareness on the importance of special education, and the need for its enhancement.
Collaborating with Orkids, a foundation that caters to the special needs of children with Down syndrome, the students engaged the children in simple interactive games by setting up booths in the form of a maze, with each booth having its own theme such as ‘Sing-a-Dance’, ‘I’m a doctor’, ‘Baker of the day’, ‘Fashionista-Diva’, and more. Moving from booth to booth with their parents, the children were exposed to stimulating information and hands-on activities that tested their creativity and cognitive skills.
|In the process of interacting with the children, INTI’s students developed special bonds with them|
The UNO was initially developed as a paper assignment for a class project. It became a real life project when the students realized its potential in helping children with learning disabilities. With little experience in interacting with special needs children, the students initially found the task daunting, but with guidance from members of the Orkids foundation, they soon developed a special bond with the children.
Individual development is emphasized at INTI to bring out a student’s full potential, and this involves the student’s journey of transformation to become a competent graduate via a self-discovery and development plan that includes learning experiences beyond the classroom. In the process, students develop soft skills that lead to strong leadership ability, confidence and the ability to analyse and strategise, in addition to being decisive and resourceful.
The UNO comes under the umbrella of H.U.G.S. (Hope.Unity.Grace.Selflessness), a platform for INTI students to conduct community service projects. It is the first of a series of events to be organized by the students as part of their social responsibility initiative. An upcoming project will see students organizing a concert named MyArts in support of Malaysian performing arts and Orkids. The concert will feature local artistes and performers who will entertain in an evening of song and dance.
INTI’s students have numerous opportunities to develop their talents and pursue their passion for community service. With strong support from faculty, students are given proper guidance in realizing their various initiatives to help the local community. Coupled with the right academic delivery and readily available cutting-edge facilities, students are able to further enhance their learning experience by translating classroom activities into real life initiatives. These lead to students gaining firsthand experience in event management, communication strategies and leadership development.
Chief among the sources of inspiration for INTI’s students for community service and social responsibility is President Bill Clinton, who serves as the Honorary Chancellor of the Laureate International Universities network, a role in which he offers advice on social responsibility, youth leadership and increasing access to higher education. In his 2010 visit to INTI International University, he addressed more than 1,000 students and invited guests and inspired many others. Since then, INTI’s students have participated in global events such as the Clinton Global Initiative University, which brings together students from all over the world to serve the community.