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Curtin Volunteers! mark ten years of John Curtin Weekend in Sarawak

Miri – 4 January 2018 – The Curtin Volunteers! (CV!), the largest student-driven volunteering club at Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia), has proudly marked ten years of carrying out its annual John Curtin Weekend (JCW) community outreach project serving communities in and around Miri.

Over 250 CV! and other volunteers from the campus capped the milestone with JCW projects at six rural villages in Sibuti, Bakong and Lambir and a motivational camp for primary school children of Subis District at the Niah National Park.

CV! can be found at the Curtin campuses in Perth, Australia and Miri, Malaysia. Its mission is to provide volunteering opportunities to both enrich the student experience, enhance classroom learning, develop soft skills and build networks, as well as benefit the wider community.

JCW is their largest and longest running community outreach project, first started in Western Australia in 1999 and later introduced in Malaysia in 2008. It gives volunteers the opportunity to travel to rural areas in both places to work on initiatives that add real value to the communities.

JCW has its origins in John Curtin Day, a celebration of the day wartime Australian prime minister John Curtin took office on 7 October 1941. John Curtin Day was first held at Curtin Perth in 1998, with medals being handed out to those who demonstrated John Curtin's values of vision, leadership and community service. In 1999, students and staff began doing community service on John Curtin Day and within a year, it became ‘John Curtin Weekend’.

JCW in both countries are run concurrently but has become so popular that they now run over multiple weekends. However, the projects in Sarawak are unique in that they adopt the ‘anak angkat’ or ‘community fostering’ concept where villagers host and work with the volunteers for the duration of the projects.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of JCW in Sarawak, projects were held over three consecutive weekends in September and October last year, involving more than 190 volunteers who headed out to Rumah Genatan and Rumah Apin in Sibuti, Rumah Juliana and Rumah Nora in Bakong, and Rumah Ampik and Rumah Nunong in Lambir.

Activities carried out by the volunteers included organising ‘gotong-royong’ to repair and repaint the longhouse structures and helping the villagers at their farms and oil palm plantations. They also conducted first aid and oral hygiene demonstrations, and arts and crafts and language workshops for the village children.

Meanwhile, over 60 volunteers hosted the JCW Grand Camp, a motivational camp for students from 11 primary schools in the Subis District, at the Niah National Park. The participating schools were SK Kampung Kuala Sibuti, SK Sungai Bakas, SK Kampung Bungai, SK Rumah Goyang, SK Kelapa Sawit No. 1, SK Sungai Manong, SK Kelapa Sawit No. 4, SK Rancangan Sepupok, SK Sungai Lamaus, SK Batu Niah and SK Lambir Village.

The JCW is supported by Curtin Malaysia’s Department of University Life, its student and community development arm dedicated to enhancing the student experience and developing socially responsible graduates who are likely to become future leaders in industry and the community.

The annual project enjoys significant public and private sector support and among the latest supporters were Tabung Baitulmal Sarawak, Subis District Education Office, Sarawak Forestry Department, TOS Logistics, Siti Payung Kek Lapis Sarawak and Miri Cheap Printing.

Since its inception at Curtin Malaysia in 2013, CV! has been giving members of the campus community opportunities to engage with the wider community and experience the many benefits of volunteerism. In addition to the JCW, it organises blood donation drives, beach cleaning campaigns, charity fundraisers and other activities benefitting both urban and rural communities. Find out more about CV! in Malaysia at www.curtinvolunteers.com.

For more information on Curtin Malaysia, visit its website (curtin.edu.my), its Facebook page (CurtinMalaysia), Twitter profile (curtinmalaysia), Google+ page (Curtin Malaysia), Instagram (curtinmalaysia) or YouTube channel (Curtin Malaysia).


Painting with villager at Rumah Apin.


Volunteers conducting fun activity for children of Rumah Juliana.


Helping out with food preparation at Rumah Ampik.


Volunteers interacting with primary school students during Curtin Grand Camp at Niah National Park.


Volunteers pose for group photo with village folk at Rumah Nora.