Left photo: ASEAN Ladies' Circle (ALC) of Kuala Lumpur President and ALC Philippines Patron Madam Maria Victoria H. Jose (center, top row) is joined by the Patrons of ASEAN's member countries (spouses of ASEAN Ambassadors in Kuala Lumpur) and ALC Executive Committee members (top row), as well as the teachers, school administrators, and primary school students of Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Damansara in a book donation ceremony held on 7 August 2018. Right photo: Mdm Maria Victoria Jose listen as students read one of the books donated by the Philippines with a teacher guiding them.

20 August 2018 – Children in five schools in Malaysia will learn about Filipino culture, as well as the cultures of the nine other member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), through the ASEAN Library Corner Book Donation Project of the ASEAN Ladies’ Circle (ALC) of Kuala Lumpur.

ALC President Mrs. Ma. Victoria H. Jose, who also serves as Patron of ALC Philippines as the spouse of Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Charles C. Jose, worked closely with the nine Patrons of the ASEAN member countries to gather 100 children’s books donated by the governments of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.  Meanwhile, ALC Vice President and ALC Malaysia Alternate Patron Datin Sri Hafipah Mohd Shah facilitated the selection and coordination with five Malaysian public schools to receive the books, some of which educate children with special needs.

The books were donated in three separate handover ceremonies held throughout the month of August in commemoration of the 51st founding anniversary of ASEAN on 8 August 2018.  The ALC ladies visited Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Damansara on 7 August 2018, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Desa Perdana on 9 August 2018 (with representatives of Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Sri Sinar and Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Desa in attendance), and Sekolah Integrasi Rendah Agama JAWI Saidina Uthman Bin Affan on 14 August 2018. At each school, the ALC ladies were warmly welcomed by teachers and students alike through cultural performances and exhibitions of students’ arts and crafts, followed by the handing over of books to each school.

In her keynote remarks at each ceremony, Mrs. Jose told students, “The books will not only encourage you to read in English, but also help raise awareness about ASEAN and the culture of ASEAN countries at your early age.  Most of the books are written in our own country’s languages but they have English translations so you can read them and understand them.  We hope you will enjoy these books and borrow them from your school library.”  Mrs. Jose also encouraged the schools to use the books to start an ASEAN Corner within their respective libraries.

The ASEAN Ladies’ Circle is a non-profit organization comprised of women from the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which aims to promote mutual understanding and encourage cultural exchanges among its members, to disseminate information on the ideals and objectives of ASEAN, and to encourage the advancement of women and children in the ASEAN region in terms of education and socio-economic standing.  END

Top left: Madam Maria Victoria Jose gives her speech before the Administrators, teachers, and students of SMK Desa Perdana Top right: ALC Patrons and members are joined by teachers and school administrators from SMK Desa Perdana, SK Taman Sri Sinar, and SK Taman Desa at the second book donation ceremony held on 9 August 2018. Bottom: ALC Patrons and members pose with students and teachers from Sekolah Integrasi Rendah Agama JAWI Saidina Uthman Bin Affan at the third book donation ceremony held on 14 August 2018.