World Challenge - Malaysia

Twenty four Year 12 students and four members of staff embarked on the trip of a lifetime to Malaysia with World Challenge.

This is Heaton Manor’s fifth trip with World Challenge, an organisation which encourages students to fundraise for their trip before being put in charge of the budget, accommodation and travelling arrangements for their group – each student taking a role as group leader.

Group 1:

The group consisted of 14 students. After spending one night in Kuala Lumpur the group travelled to the Cameron Highlands for the ‘Trekking’ phase of the expedition. All arrangements with regards to accommodation and transport were made by the students and everything went to plan. The trek was arduous and beautiful. The students completed the trek in good spirits and demonstrated high levels of teamwork throughout. Some students decided to complete another trek the following day whilst others opted to visit the Mossy Forest and the Boh Tea Plantation.

On leaving the Cameron Highlands the group headed to Gopeng (partially on the back of a truck!) and participated in a thrilling white-water rafting experience. This area of the country is very green with many palm and rubber plantations.

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Back in Kuala Lumpur the ‘Project’ phase began. The project was based at the United Learning Centre, a school for refugee children from Myanmar (Burma). The school currently has 85 students, the ages ranging from 3 to 18 years. 30 of the students live at the school as their parents are unable to take care of them for a variety of reasons. Lessons take place in the morning and then in the afternoon the children learn through play. Our students took the morning lessons then painted and helped out with arts and crafts during the afternoons. On the final day a massive water fight took place – a great time was had by everyone! It was a very humbling experience working with these children as they were always laughing and had huge beaming smiles but had very little in material terms. Leaving the children was very emotional and many tears were shed. The group intends to keep in touch with the school and offer continued support.

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Next came the very well deserved ‘Relax and Relaxation’ phase at Pulau Pangkor. Transport to the island involved two coaches, a ferry and a taxi which once again was arranged entirely by the students and went without a hitch. The students had managed the budget so well that they had enough money to book into a hotel-pure luxury after having stayed in low cost hostels. The hotel was a short walk away from Coral Beach, with white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, hammocks palm trees and monkeys!

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We travelled back to Kuala Lumpur. Having already visited Batu Caves the group and took a ride on the monorail to visit the very impressive Petronas Towers. Some of the group who had a head for heights travelled to the top of the Towers, taking in superb views of the city. After some last minute shopping for gifts the group headed back to the airport with mixed emotions and memories which will last a lifetime.

Group 2:

This group of ten students headed straight to the Jungle in Tasik Chini shortly after their arrival in Kuala Lumpur. Group Leaders had to organise travel and liaise with Ruth, the owner of the Rajan Jones guesthouse where we were staying. Situated in the heart of the jungle, students’ first adventure was riding in a pick-up truck to the guesthouse before being acquainted with the long house dwellings of the Orang Asli people in whose village we were staying. We felt incredibly fortunate to visit the village school and Tribe Leader before learning the art of palm weaving and using a blow-pipe! Students also were taken on a jungle trek where Ruth kindly pointed out the different trees, plants and animals, as well as an exhilarating boat ride deep into the jungle and to a remote village.

World Challenge Malaysia 6 250After leaving Ruth and the jungle behind, the group returned to Kuala Lumpur and having sourced travel and accommodation, arrived in Buckit Bintang ahead of the project phase of their trip. Group 2’s project was based at the House of Peace, an organisation which works with orphaned, abandoned and abused girls. Under the guidance of Justine, who set up the organisation and runs the project, girls are looked after at the home, are home schooled and are provided with funds for university education or helped to locate work. The girls here are happy, very well educated and good fun – all a huge credit to Justine and her team of dedicated staff. Here our students carried out maintenance tasks like painting and re-varnishing furniture, painting fences and cataloguing library books. Students were also encouraged to read with the younger children and to play games. Many of the boys in the group surprised us all with their ballet dancing skills when prompted by Ruth aged four – who knew?

After a very happy and emotional time at the home, the group then left and travelled for four hours to the Cameron Highlands having again organised the accommodation and travel. Here we completed an adrenaline charged trek where we climbed 6666ft up jungle terrain before walking a further 5K to the Boh tea plantation where we saw how the tea was processed and manufactured. Whilst incredibly difficult, the trek was worth the views and the massive sense of achievement (and relief!) we all felt once completed.

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Having bid farewell to the Highlands, we headed next to Ipoh where we participated in white-water rafting, a brilliant experience – not just for the fact that students had the opportunity of watching their teachers get a good dunking in the water. From Ipoh we headed to Lumut and took the ferry to Pankor Island, an idyllic beach resort where we spent two days of rest and relaxation. Here we met the formidable character of Mr Tan who owned the resort we were staying in. Mr Tan was a fabulous personality who knew everything about the island and was an excellent source of advice to our students. It was here that the teachers’ rooms were broken into by a group of monkeys who managed to steal Ms Delaney’s Boh tea as well as break into the First Aid box and eat several packets of laxatives!!

Fully refreshed we then headed to the final destination of Kuala Lumpur where we visited the Petronas and KL Towers. Students here had the opportunity to put their bartering skills to the test in China Town and the visit the fabulous Batu Caves as well as the Hard Rock Café before heading home on an overnight flight.

The trip was exciting, adventurous and required students to react to different situations, compromise and plan for the needs of a whole group. On the return flight it was commented by British Airline staff that our students were a real credit to our school – a sentiment agreed upon by the staff who accompanied them. Well done!

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