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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Good Shepherd Sisters bring joy and hope to the migrants

Sandakan : The Indonesian Catholic Community in collaboration with the Good Shepherd Sisters organized a Christmas gathering for the children of the just established learning program Sunday December 19, 2010 at St Mark's Church with a theme on 'Emmanuel - God with Us.'
The said community mostly from Flores Island, Indonesia living within the vicinity of St Mark are mainly engaged in the agricultural, poultry, industrial and service sectors. Their children have no access to education in government run schools. A dialogue held sometime in September this year with representatives of the Indonesian Embassy and Consul had given rise to the possibility of setting up a 'Community Learning Centre' for the children. The setting up of such a centre might take some time.
Sr Maria Dipal RGS, the in-charge of the Sandakan Seri Murni Crisis Centre, staff members and volunteers of 'Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd' in the persons of  Jellferlyne Joseph, Jessica Wong, Namoi Naih and Weerin started a 'Learning Program' for the children on November 1, 2010. The children are taught the very basic of reading, writing and arithmetic every Monday to Thursday. Since then, the team had been journeying with them.
Sr Maria RGS in her welcoming speech to more than 100 people, said that she was deeply touched by the support shown by the community. She said that children, if given the right opportunity can grow and develop their God given talents to their fullest potential.

She called on the members of the 'Keluarga Besar Katolik Indonesia' to stay united in all circumstances so that they may journey together as a strongly knitted community, serving one another.

She extended her appreciation to the volunteers who had responded to make the program a reality and ongoing. She hoped that the light of Christ will shine in every Christian during this Christmas festive season

The stage decorated with the traditional woven coconut leave craft called  'Janur'

The children and the parents alike had been practicing hard for the last two weeks to bring alive the spirit of Christmas and to spread the Christmas joy among the community. They prepared the venue, decorated the stage and put up children's work for display.

The children presented Christmas carols, the Nativity sketch, poetry recitation and dance. Parents were not left out. They also performed their traditional community dance called 'dolo-dolo'
Performing the traditional dance, the dolo-dolo
Participating in the community game
Children and parents participated in the community game, 'dancing on newspaper'. They danced in groups of five and need to hold on to one another to stand within the unfolded double page of the newspaper once the music stop. The process repeat, each time with the newspaper folded into half of its original size. The message  of the game is clear that as a community / family, each need to hold on to each other in all circumstances.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of a self-made 'gift box' which they learnt during the art and craft lesson, to their parents. Parents were all smiles as they made their way on stage to receive the little gift from their children. 

The event ended with Santa Claus giving away presents to the little children and after which they adjourned to a fellowship with food prepared by the community.


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