Rural Malaysian Kids to Washington DC

80% of the students I teach survive on a household income of RM1000/USD$305 a month. Half of them come from broken families or have lost at least one parent at the mere age of 16. Based on last year's data, 1 out of 6 students is estimated to drop out each year. 10% of my remaining students have managed to score an A in Science (the subject that I teach) but almost 70% of them still fail in English.What can a teacher like me do, to motivate them to excel academically and dream big beyond the norms of those around them?

This page is dedicated to raise funds to send 10 rural Malaysian students for the educational trip of their lifetime to Washington DC. The objective of this trip is to motivate my students to improve their English and to empower them to be competent global citizens. I've dared them to dream big, now I have to raise BIG MONEY too. #senseofpossibility. Would you help make this trip happen? You can either contribute a sum to the fund as targeted, sponsor flight tickets (approx. USD1600 per pax return ticket) or sponsor winter clothes. You will gain great fulfillment from helping these able but economically and environmentally challenged kids. Imagine how much these students can be empowered to change their lives, bolster their dreams and change the life trajectory of their family if they were given the opportunity to challenge themselves towards something excitingly big- something as big as a once-in-a-life-time educational trip to Washington DC, USA. This trip is why you are reading my pitch. Read on for more information.

About the students:

When I was a child, I dreamed to become a doctor because people told me I could, I got all the books I needed, and many people I knew made it to become one. My friends dreamed to become lawyers, successful businessmen, accountants, engineers, journalists and many more- because their parents told them they could, and where they (and I) lived and studied was smacked strategically in close proximity to highly credible tuition centers, prestigious universities, colleges as well as corporate offices. Today, we have all got at least a Bachelor's Degree from a credible university or college and are working as young professionals. But the world is different for my students:

Imagine that the ambition of a bright boy where I teach is to be a lorry driver.
Imagine that the ambition of another hardworking boy where I teach is to be a scrap metal vendor.
Imagine that the best students in the best classes I teach, still fail in English.
Imagine that many days I worry that my students will stop turning up for school because they are getting married by the age of 15 or 16.

Some of the kids' aspirations.

These are very able students, but we know their environment and upbringing is not as what we imagined every child should get. They have limited role models, books, support, encouragement and exposure to the opportunities that Malaysia and the world have in store for them. We know that they have potential far greater than should be left uncultivated.

Experiential learning at its best. Students and I at Aquaria KLCC.

About me:

I am Chan Oga, a 2012 Teach for Malaysia fellow teaching Form 4 Science and Biology in SMK Sungai Manggis, Banting- a rural town at the south border of Selangor, Malaysia. Most students in SMK Sungai Manggis come from families that earn RM1000 or less per household and many students come from broken families where orphanages would drop students to school by the buses every morning. Students in my school lack opportunities beyond Banting town and it is a challenge for them to believe that they have potential far greater than any of their family or community members.

I have started a project called Project Realize in SMK Sungai Manggis, where I facilitate opportunities for students to explore and engage in different experiences for them to realize their individual potential and dreams. Activities that I organize include university visits, competition participation, community service and career visits throughout the year to equip them with skills and exposure to succeed. I entered SMK Sungai Manggis teaching students who only precariously passed their papers in my first year; but using opportunities as rewards to help students set goals for themselves have been so fruitful that I have gotten 13 As from my Science students (as compared to none for many years). I believe so much in providing opportunities for students to see and experience the world beyond Banting.

Students' names pinned onto the world map. First stop: Washington DC. Next stop, the world.

The Project:

In November 2013, I am bringing 10 best students to Washington DC for a 6D5N educational trip. Washington DC was selected mainly because of the language, the familiarity of these rural students to USA (thanks to Hollywood) rather than other English speaking countries that they may find difficult to imagine, and the availability of contacts I readily have. The students will be in DC for career visits, university visits, community service, global culture exposure and of course- visiting popular spots. Places in the current itinerary include The World Bank, The Supreme Court, the Smithsonian Museum, the Holocaust Museum, the White House, The American University, Georgetown University and Martha's table. Below is the full itinerary prepared.

The objectives of the trip are:

1) To challenge students to take the extra mile to improve their written and spoken command of English as well as score well in Science or Biology.

2) To challenge students to become leaders and thinkers with a multicultural and global mindset.

3) To empower students to set big goals for themselves and strive towards their dreams.

4) To leave SMK Sungai Manggis with an exciting trip that students and teachers will look forward to and work towards annually.

A snapshot of some students' milestone in Science from their initial failing grades.

To win the trip, students will be challenged in 3 aspects which include their August Examination results in English and Science/ Biology, attendance and fundraising project. In the fundraising project, students will compete to raise funds collectively for the trip while exercising leadership, entrepreneurial and social skills strictly in English only. However, the total estimated cost needed for this trip is USD$35,000 (air-ticket, tour package, passport, visa and travelling insurance for 10 students and a teacher). Cost per student is 10 times the average household income of their family. Would you pitch in to help make this trip happen?

PS: Access of funds (if available) will be put into buying some winter clothes for students only. Temperature at Washington this November is estimated to be as cold as 4 degree Celsius. Please do feel free to let me know if you would like to contribute winter clothes :) ttp://
Thank you for supporting Project Realize Supertrip to Washington DC. You have become part of a life-changing project in SMK Sungai Manggis. The success of this trip will bolster the expectations of students and teachers in the school (and district too).

For Project Updates and further questions, do not hesitate to visit/reach out to me at

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Chan Oga 
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