KC of Kota Kemuning
The Story and How It Started
Kiwanis Club of Kota Kemuning, Malaysia has teamed up with Buku Jalan Chow Kit (BJCK), a local NGO to build a much-needed Rooftop Playground for the stateless and underprivileged children in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur
Buku Jalanan Chow Kit (BJCK) was born out of belief that every child should have the same equal opportunity of receiving an education no matter what background they came from. Children of Chow Kit, children who are slower at learning, children who could not attend school due to circumstances that they are born into and children who have thirst for knowledge are why this initiative is started.
Siti Rahayu, one of the founder of BJCK started the programme in an alleyway with classes twice a week in August 2015. The children would sit on mats placed on the ground, diligently listening to the tutors, mostly students from neighboring universities, and scribbing in their books lit up by torchlights and solar lamps.
After three years on the street, Siti Rahayu and her team started envisioning a permanent place for BJCK, which came into being thanks to their efforts along with generous donations and sponsorships. The centre held its first class on the last day of 2017. The centre currently has 35 Stateless and Displaced Children, 50 Urban Poor Children. For many of these children, home is often a cramped single room shared with a large family. At the BJCK Centre, they have breathing spcae to study and play
The Urgency Situation
Situated in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Chow Kit has a reputation as a poor, rough and overcrowded. It is definitely not a neighborhood for children to grow up as there is no green spaces or places that they can safely play. Children grow up in a cramped inner-city that offer them no protection or even a safe area. The dire situation is children in Chow Kit lost their safe play space and playground.
The Rooftop Playground
There is a lack of open space for play, recreation and learning for children in Chow Kit. We would like to create a rooftop playground, sports area and educational edible garden in the heart of the Chow Kit. This project is an outgrowth of BJCK School, which is a case study of space activation through NGO-private sponsor partnerships. BJCK has recently obtained permission to use the roof of the building along Lorong Haji Taib 2 in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur for this project. Total size is 2465 sqft. As with BJCK's school, the target group for this rooftop project is at risk youths aged from 6-18 years old that live in the Chow Kit area. With their experience modifying existing space and building communities around them, we are sure that we are able to carry out this project in a timely and transparent manner.
We plan to build the following structures on the rooftop:
• Safety fencing around the perimeter of the roof.
• Two small mini-futsal fields.
• A small playground
• A wall climbing area
• An edible garden and gardening facility
The urban environments have the potential to be more than just barren concrete structures or decorative plantings that have no function to the surrounding community. We would like to show how grassroots movements can create community spaces that are highly integrated with community programs, sports and gardening can help to develop the character of students in the school, while materials produced from the urban gardens can be used by the parents that help to cook and sell products with BJCK's entrepreneurship development programs. We want to capture the imagination of the public by showing them what can be done with a simple rooftop.
Children who are without any valid identification documents, refugee children, underprivileged and the urban poor children in Chow Kit. To-date Buku Jalanan Chow Kit is working with 40 families with 81 children. This
Rooftop Play Space is a space that they plan to share with the children of Yayasan Chow Kit and every child in Chow Kit whom their surrounding did not offer them a proper space to play.
Short term impacts include the creation of a better social environment for the most vulnerable members of the Chow Kit Community as well as integrating the children into the society.
As with any investment into skills-based education, the main impacts can only be seen in the long term. Our goal is for these children to gain the skills necessary to build life discipline and further themselves by
equipping them with every skill sets possible.
The lessons learned from managing this project can be used as a model for future grassroots programs to empower marginalized youth group in Malaysia. We hope that this project will become a prototype for other
similar organizations that can be replicated across Malaysia.