MALAYSIA – Brother Felipe’s visit served to further develop trust and hope in the St. Joseph’s Institution International Malaysia (SJIIM) community. The ongoing commitment and presence of the Brothers in SJIIM have helped to settle a challenging situation. When having lunch with Brother Felipe before he left, he said that part of the Brothers’ role is a ‘mission of presence’. The presence of the Brothers truly has been a gift for us at SJIIM and has further developed our community.
Brother Felipe was the inaugural speaker in the Parents’ Support Group’s (PSG) breakfast speaker series, C.A.R.E. He led a very heartfelt talk titled, ‘Change and Parenting.’ He shared expert professional advice with parents, but most importantly, he facilitated sharing and discussion among the parent community. Due to the impact of Covid-19, the parents have had little opportunity to visit the school so Brother Felipe’s talk provided the perfect occasion for them to reconnect and discuss some important issues.
Whilst Brother Felipe was at SJIIM, he was also able to learn about and provide support to both students and parents leading some important service projects. A key parent-led service initiative over the last couple of years has been the KitaKitar group. So far, KitaKitar has led some incredible service projects such as the ‘Walk in their Shoes’ and ‘Plant Joy’ which has supported the Orang Asli tribe and a local boys home respectively. For Founder’s Day this year, KitaKitar will be designing and selling a sustainability themed SJIIM calendar to support the National Stroke Association of Malaysia. Brother Felipe attended a presentation by this parents group to learn more about their project. Additionally, a group of Year 11 students introduced a ‘Hunger Knows No Barriers’ project which involved raising money and collecting food parcels for a local soup kitchen. This project was part of their Lasallian Education curriculum and Brother Felipe got a chance to work first-hand with our students in class and in their Lasallian Youth Movement after school programme.
Before his final day, the parents honoured him, and our out-going Head of School, by planting them a tree in the school grounds. We look forward to nurturing it and watching it grow. Brother Felipe will hopefully be back to visit it - and SJIIM - often. (Text & Photos: Mr. Tony Lai)