PETALING JAYA: A student-led initiative created last year at the British International School of Kuala Lumpur (BSKL) by Year 7 student Sasha Philip raised RM43,500 for conservation groups dedicated to saving the critically endangered Malayan tiger.
The funds were distributed at a virtual school assembly on 15 June to three groups involved in conservation efforts, Jabatan Perhilitan Semenanjung Malaysia, the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT), and WWF-Malaysia. Dignitaries from each group attended the assembly to present to BSKL students about their organisations.
Sasha became interested in the Malayan tiger and wanted to do something to help raise awareness after a school research project on endangered animals.
“I couldn’t ignore the plight of the Malayan tiger. I wanted to do my part to save tigers, which happens to be my family’s favourite animal, from extinction. When we make the world a better place for tigers, we also make the world a better place for us,” Sasha said.
Encouraged by her parents and her teacher, she created a group called BSKL for Malayan Tigers to make a difference. The group worked with a core membership of 13 BSKL students dedicated to raising awareness and making change. They hosted a variety of activities, events, and fundraisers throughout the 2019/20 school year before the global pandemic interrupted in-person learning.
They created a student art competition to raise awareness and then turned the winning entries into a 2020 calendar which they printed and sold as a fundraiser. The calendar included a foreword written by YA Bhg Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Bt Mohd Ali, the wife of former Malaysian Prime Minister YA Bhg Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. They hosted a school assembly and worked with the primary school library team to educate BSKL students about the Malayan tiger. They even created the first BSKL Tiger Day in January 2020.
The group’s entrepreneurial spirit led them to develop a unique branding for BSKL for Malayan Tigers which they put on merchandise, like hats, t-shirts, metal straws, bags and more. They sold these items at the BSKL Christmas Bazaar and BSKL Tiger Day to students, parents and the community. Most of the funds raised were generated through the proceeds of these sales.
“Sasha’s work showcases her deep personal care and activism for the plight of the Malayan tiger and it has been incredible to support and develop her work. This is exactly the type of project that shows two of our school’s values in the most impactful way: ‘Be Ambitious’ and ‘Be kind’. We hope that Sasha’s leadership of BSKL for Malayan Tigers will have a significant impact in conserving this critically endangered animal,” BSKL Head of Primary Simon Sharp said.
Whilst the pandemic, and subsequent school closures, impacted their efforts to engage students during this school year Sasha has high hopes for future activities led by the BSKL for Malayan Tigers group.