Carly Chia, Volunteer

They are the real ‘soldiers’ – fighting for an uncertain future despite the adversity.

“I have been working with refugees since 2011 as a volunteer at a learning centre for refugee youths.

Just like any other ordinary youths, the refugees attend classes arranged by the centre during the day. I was arranged to teach the teenage girls basic pedicure and manicure skills but some of the young adults found it interesting and joined us after that. Despite the language barrier, I tried to have casual chat with them. However, I find it hard for them to open up and talk about life or their feelings.

I conducted the class in a very cheerful and casual manner but I always saw a glimpse of sadness in their eyes. After a few visits, I noticed the mural in the living room. My heart shattered into pieces when I scrutinised the mural carefully.

I believe drawings are the window through which one can peek into a child’s innermost feelings. The sun that represents optimism is hiding behind the mountains; the rainbow that represents hope was painted in dull colours; the red background painted in the room signifies the frustration of being trapped; the wings and halo represent the dead. While all the good things are happening outside, the men and children were quarantined within the four walls.

I wonder how many shattered dreams and broken smiles are hiding behind those young and innocent souls. War, death, violence and reality happened too soon for the children and they do not deserve to live like this. My heart dies a little whenever I see them smile. In contrast, I was really inspired by the teenage refugees. They are the real ‘soldiers’ – fighting for an uncertain future despite the adversity.

After volunteering, I have decided to steer my career path towards serving the refugees after the completion of my law degree.”


Name: Carly Chia, Volunteer

Nationality: Malaysian


1 family torn apart by war is too many

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