Tadika Sai Dharma: A CAP Program at Seremban Selatan
The Tadika Sai Dharma is a community adoption program initiated by Sathya Sai Baba Centre of Seremban Selatan. With whatever little experience and expertise in running a pre-school, and with the assistance and full backing of the Sathya Sai Baba Central Council of Malaysia and CCI (Centre for Community initiative) under MCEF (Malaysian Community and Education Foundation), the team embarked on this noble project in 2007.
To date, there are approximately 2000 unit of houses in the vicinity of the Seremban Selatan centre of which more than 50% are occupied by Indians. The majority of the Indian residents in the area have either migrated or have been displaced from the neighboring squatter areas or surrounding estates that were fragmented. Most of the main bread-winners of the families are unskilled workers earning very low wages to support large families. Their sudden shift to the urban area exposed them to various challenges and realities and made them vulnerable to social problems and ills.
The Sathya Sai Baba Center of Seremban Selatan found out that the children of these residents were not performing academically and many of them could not afford to send their children to kindergartens. The centre thus felt that there was a need for a free pre-school for the children of families in this vicinity. It was with this aim in mind that the Tadika Sai Dharma was initiated. Children aged 4 to 6 years were roped into the tadika so as to give them a headstart in pursuing early education and to ensure the possibilities of a bright future.
Tadika Sai Dharma managed to enroll 36 students in 2008, 56 students in 2009, 73 students in 2010 and in 2011 we had a total of 68 students. The increasing population in the tadika was encouraging and showed the acceptance and appreciation of the Indians living in this area. With the kind assistance of CCI and some well- wishers, we intend to put up a decent building in 2011 for the growing number of pre-school students.
The Sathya Sai Baba Centre being a spiritual organization looks at how to better serve the down – trodden communities. Although, our main target and focus is on the children and their early education, we also aim to tackle the social problems and ills that are prevalent among youths and the elders by organizing regular workshops, seminars and talks on various topics such as gangsterism, drugs, harassment and alcohol. These activities have created enough social awareness among the local community so much so that many including parents of the pre- school children have come forward to involve themselves in most of our community development programs.
Since establishment, Sai Dharma has organized sports day on a yearly basis for the children, coloring contests with the neighboring school, Sarasawathy pooja, annual Graduation, concerts and other activities. In all these activities, there was tremendous support and involvement from parents and members of the public. The school has also placed a great deal of importance on employing trained pre-school teachers. Over the years, the children who have graduated from Sai Dharma have proven themselves academically by getting into the better classes at primary level.
The Sai Dharma is a symbol of pride and achievement and proves that anything is possible if there is faith, willingness to strive and noble intentions. In a nutshell, Sai Dharma is a model for others to emulate to serve the needy.