Monash Fiesta for NASOM

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Monash Fiesta For Autistic Children (NASOM)

Ms Sarah Rostam engaging the crowd with fun games within the decorated foyer of MUSC.

Monash Fiesta for NASOM

“This university ada budak dari all over the world. Inilah diversity (This university has students from all over the world. This is diversity),” Rizal* quipped to everyone’s delight.

MUVP conducted an amazing fiesta for the autistic children from NASOM.The children arrived at 11 am on monash ground and were ushered in by our very own MUVP volunteers who got a chance to get to know the children. Once all preparatory work was done security measures checked and all the children had arrived, MUVP Volunteers led the children to a play ground and were divided into groups; Green Team, Pink Team and the blue Team.

MUVP volunteer and Head of sponsorship Satah Rostam who headed the event was the MC for the games which the children enjoyed. The event gave the volunteers and children a chance to interact and have fun together.

Coupled with the cultural diversity, the children from NASOM got a chance to meet volunteers from all over the world including Botswana, Saudi Arabia, Zambia, Oman, India, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Indonesia to name but a few.

The volunteers were made up of students from all six schools of the Sunway campus - Arts and Social Sciences, Business, Engineering, Information Technology, Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Science – who shared a vision of giving back to society.


MUVP Co-ordinator Imrah Fayez Welcome one the children from NASOM to Monash university (Sunway Campus) - (on the left). MUVP Student Volunteers Rhoda and Priyanka Puri grab a quick chit chat with one of the children - (on the right)


On the onset, Rizal and his brother Jeffri* may have seemed like the typically bright and eager students, what more with the quieter elder brother’s excellent Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) results of 4As and 1B recently.

The brothers however, have been living with autism, a developmental disability that can cause problems with communication, social interaction and routine/repetitive behaviors.

To cope with autism, Rizal and Jeffri need to attend an after-school support program run by the National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM).

Recently, the boys were among 60 autistic children hosted by Monash University Sunway campus at the Monash Fiesta event organised by Monash University Volunteer Program students.


MUVP, Sub-Committee Member (NGOC), Renga Sesinyi chats away with the children. - (Above)

“We want to provide an opportunity for autistic children to engage in a community setting and improve crucial social skills in a safe and contained environment,” volunteer Sarah Rostam said, adding volunteers had organised and participated in party games and cartoon screenings with the children.

“The event turned out better than we expected as the children, their teachers and our volunteers truly had a blast,” Sarah said


MUVP, Head of Department (NGOC), Lakna Niriella joins in the fun to play with the children. - (Above)

Principal of NASOM Ms Liew Yoon Lai said: “Social events like these are very helpful as part of early intervention, which can really help our autistic children improve greatly and develop normally.”

“We have children as young as two-years-old at NASOM. The earlier they are diagnosed, the better their chances of getting treated. However, we do not perform miracles as we also need help and support from their parents, teachers and caretakers,” she added.

One of the teachers present was Ms Hazliza Abd Hamid, who has had 20 years of experience with autistic children.

When she started working with NASOM Titiwangsa’s Early Intervention Program, she did not know anything about autism. Today, Ms Hazliza says that the children “are very unique and want to be independent, so our role is to give them the opportunity to do things on their own but with careful guidance.”

“They need lots of attention and this is where interaction is very important. I can tell you I am still learning something new and exciting about them every day,” she added.

*Names of the children have been changed to protect their identitie

*Photographer - Ivan Thai Shang Yong

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