From a Wrong Turn to a 25 Years Journey of Educating Underprivileged Children
10 July 2023

Every great journey begins with a heartfelt tale, and Dignity's story is no exception.

Ours is a special, close to the heart one of a couple (our co-founders) who came across the illiterate, poor children in Sentul 25 years ago, and decided to do something about it.

Sentul Raya Boulevard in 1998.

One day in 1997, Petrina (co-founder) was driving through Kuala Lumpur when she took a wrong turn and stumbled upon a place that is called Sentul Boulevard today.

It didn't take her long to realize that may families living around that commercial area were poor, with little or no education.

She encountered mothers who suffered domestic abuse and drug addicts who couldn't hold steady jobs.

Greatly troubled by the children's inability to read and write, Petrina and her husband, Pastor Elisha started providing tuitions to 10 children who live in Sentul.

Their goal was simple yet profound - to empower children to break free from the cycle of poverty through education.

However, the children's lack of motivation to succeed was a challenge.

Then, in 2002, Petrina got hold of a book called "The Discovery of the Child" by Maria Montessori, which left an impression on her.

With children coming from varying backgrounds and learning abilities, it would be more effective for children to direct their own learning.

Both Petrina and Elisha strongly believed (still believes) that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and should be accessible to all.

She made the decision to pursue a Masters in Education to equip herself to provide quality education they truly deserved.

The education programmes grew over the years to accommodate the needs of the children we serve.

Today, Dignity is a learning centre with more than 2,200 children aged 2 to 19.

On a daily basis, education programmes are conducted for these children from Preschool (Montessori) to Primary to Secondary leading to Cambridge IGCSE (Form 5) or vocational skills. Other support programs include Social-Emotional-Learning (SEL), Sports, Welfare, Counseling/ Mental Health intervention.

What was initially a wrong turning 25 years ago turned out to be the starting point of the building of a space for marginalised children and teenagers to learn, grow, and be nurtured.

25 years on, our mission remains:
To nurture and empower world changers through transformative education.

It takes a village to raise a child, and we definitely can't do it alone. Join us at our 25th Anniversary Fundraising Dinner - let's go further together and impact more lives! 
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About Dignity

Our work began in 1998 in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur with only 20 students then. Dignity is now a learning centre with more than 2,300 children ranging from 2-19 years old.

Donations to Tabung Pendidikan dan Kebajikan Dignity are exempted from income tax under subsection 44(6) Income Tax Act 1967. © 2024 Dignity for Children Foundation (200001003583) (506188-W).
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