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refugee

Fugee School Documentary Videos

At the end of 2016, 4 of us from the Stories team made a special visit to Fugee School, an education hub for refugee kids in Kuala Lumpur. It was a time of getting away from our usual work to do other socially responsible photography and video related projects. In a way, it was something similar to what we did in Kelantan some years back with the flood victims. I met with Deborah Henry, co-founder of the school, to run through some ideas on what we could do for Fugee School, and we narrowed down our focus to a documentary style approach that would give some insight into these families and their life here in Malaysia.

We were blessed to have met two students, Yusra and Hafsa. Listen to their heartwarming stories in the video below, and support amazing organizations like Fugee School who work to make a difference to these children.

Credits:

Yusra’s Story
Photographed & filmed by Jamie & Chi Yin
Edited by Chi Yin
Creative direction by Grace

Hafsa & Hasan’s Story
Photographed & filmed by Grace & Jennifer
Edited by Chi Yin
Creative direction by Grace

Dignity for Children’s Visit

Last week, we had 12 very special visitors to the Stories studio. It was an unusual day for us as we never had a group of teenagers visit us in this manner before. These teenagers were chatty, fun, cheeky and ambitious. You wouldn’t have thought that they came from underprivileged backgrounds or hold a refugee status here in Malaysia.

But thank God for amazing individuals who have volunteered their time and energy in order to give back to society. And especially so for the people behind Dignity for Children, a one stop community learning centre for the urban poor and underprivileged children. Their vision is to empower these children to break the cycle of poverty through quality education, which leads to a positive life transformation.

We were pleased to share our journey as photographers / videographers and to encourage these students to see that this is a viable career path. It was a good exposure for most of them and they even got to have their portraits photographed by our team! It was really worth it to see their smiles knowing that we made a small impact in their lives, even if it was only for 2 hours. We really pray for the best for these kids, and hope that they will lead successful lives as they make carve their path into adulthood.

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Myanmar Wedding: Bobo and Catherine

Catherine and Bobo are in their twenties and in love. They are youthful, enjoy life, love the Lord, and dream of a future together. Pretty much with the same dreams as any average young adult Malaysian. The only difference is that they are living in Malaysia as refugees. When Catherine traveled thousands of kilometres by land from her Myanmar home to Malaysia years ago, she had to face many uncertainties, fears and hardships as she made the journey here.

She moved to Malaysia because she wanted to help her parents who are pastors in Myanmar to support their younger siblings through school. Even though she didn’t know anyone in Malaysia then, she left the comforts of her home to a foreign land, alone. Somehow, God connected her to some other Myanmar nationals who were also seeking refuge in Malaysia. And it was there that she found a church to belong to – a church that spoke her language and were filled with her own countryfolk.

Interestingly, Catherine got to know Bobo at church, but only got to know him better at another Myanmar refugee wedding we photographed 2 years ago. When I asked Catherine what attracted her to Bobo… she answered without hesitating… “I love how he loves the Lord.”

Since most of their friends (including them) work at restaurants or boutiques in shopping malls that close after 10pm, it’s natural that the only time they can conduct a wedding is at midnight.

How our paths crossed
One day, I got a FB message from a girl named Sheryl asking if I could recommend a place where Catherine could get a wedding gown for under RM400. This girl Catherine also had in mind to send the gown back to Myanmar to her father’s church after her wedding so that it could help other girls who couldn’t really afford a gown. After a few messages, I told her that I had my old wedding gown which I could give to her if she was keen on having it (since we were both petite at XS size). I met her in church one day, and gave her 2 of my wedding gowns to choose from. It fit her to a T! It was really special to see that my gown went to someone who appreciated it so muchI also want to thank the team of people who came together to make this wedding memorable for Catherine and Bobo. They include:

Make up & hair for bride: Michelle Touche
Make up & hair for bridesmaids: Shinny Ong
Photographers & Videographers: Stories.my (Ben, Diane, Grace, Wee Liem and Johan)
Wedding Cake & Catering: Makanlah Now
Church: DUMC

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A Myanmar Refugee Wedding: Zwe & Stellar

Photographers: Grace & Weiming
Videographers: Alex & Monica
Wedding Gown: DUMC wedding ministry
Groom’s Suit: Alex’s suit
Make up & hair: Grace Wang (bride) & Katy K’ng (bridesmaids)

On the 19th of July, Alex and I received a phone call from Pastor Margaret of our church. It was a call for help. Two Myanmar refugees, Zwe and Stellar were about to start their new lives as husband and wife, and they needed some help with the wedding.

If you did not read the background story as to how Alex and I got involved with this wedding, you’ll need to do that in order to fully comprehend this post.

So at 10.30pm on the 20th of July, Alex and I drove to church for the wedding ceremony. I was elated to see the bride looking so radiant in a white bridal gown, provided by DUMC’s wedding ministry. Amazingly, some months ago, someone had donated a handful of second hand wedding gowns to DUMC. Considering Stellar is a really petite girl (about my size, 5 feet!), it was miraculous that she managed to find a gown that fit her perfectly (ok maybe it is a tad bit long). Now if only my wedding gown was not in a box somewhere, I could have loaned Stellar my gown and the length would have been perfect.

If Zwe had chosen to wear Alex’s wedding suit, that would have been pretty weird, to see someone else in my gown and in Alex’s wedding suit! (not that I would have minded).

But Zwe chose one of Alex’s beige suits instead, and I think he looked smashing in it!

Did you know that in Myanmar, 55 million people speak a variety of 111 languages, but majority of them speak the Myanmar language.(source: myanmar.net). The Myanmar script draws its source from the Brahmi script.

Translated into English, the bible passage featured below talks about love:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (1 Corinthians 13:4)

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