Want to fish for guppies in canals? Mendaki festival returns with more learning activities

SINGAPORE – Learning can take place anywhere, any time – from a visit to the library to a walk by the canal.

This is the message self-help group Mendaki wants to get across to the Malay/Muslim community for its annual month-long Raikan Ilmu (Celebrate Knowledge) festival, whose third edition will be launched in October.

Children will have the opportunity to fish for guppies in a longkang (Malay for “drain” or “canal”) with one of the programme partners, Longkang Adventures.

Mr Nor Akasha Abdul Rahman, the founder, said he was shocked when Mendaki approached him to offer activities. His programmes are not textbook in nature but focused on getting children to unplug from electronic screens and stimulate their senses outdoors.

“It’s more for children’s well-being, taking them out to have fun and explore. But when they go home happy, the kids will also naturally be more motivated to do more things, even academically in school,” the 36-year-old added.

Speaking at a media briefing on Friday (Sept 10), Mendaki deputy chairman Zaqy Mohamad said it wants to broaden the dimensions of learning with the different partners of the festival.

“Learning is also part and parcel of living. We also want to use the opportunity to build confidence, resilience and leadership qualities among our youth,” said Mr Zaqy, who is also Senior Minister of State for Defence and Manpower.

“We want to ensure that our kids succeed in life beyond just academic qualifications,” he added.

Last year’s festival reached more than 40,000 people, Mr Zaqy noted.

Raikan Ilmu 2021 will offer programmes from confidence-building to learning how to use kitchen scraps for replanting to produce food.

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A reading week at some pre-schools, student care centres and children’s homes is also slated for the first week of October.

Ms Norlin Samat, founder and writer of Poppet, will conduct storytelling and craft sessions for children aged three to seven and their parents. She was also involved in last year’s run of the learning festival.

Poppet offers a series of bilingual children’s books to encourage the learning of the Malay language.

A virtual career fair via the Cari Kerja app and workshops to enhance employability are also planned for the month.

The full list of activities can be found at the Raikan Ilmu website from Oct 2.


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