Stories from the field

Author Kimberly Copeland

Kimberly Copeland – Blog 7: De-Bunking Social Responsibility

The last month of 2016 brings my last blog as a Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives intern at the Malaysian Social Research Institute. I wanted to write this last written episode of this UVic CAPI experience about something we interns are taught to examine and explore throughout this unique opportunity: social responsibility. This blog is a personal attempt to de-bunk the stigmas and approaches to social responsibility as an intern working for a NGO providing support to the Middle Eastern refugee population in Malaysia.


Kimberly Copeland – Blog 6: Social Enterprise Opportunities for Malaysian NGOs

A recent opportunity at MSRI I have been able to collaborate on is MSRI’s vocational training program-turned social enterprise, CINTA. CINTA targets the female refugee and asylum-seeker population of MSRI and hopes to provide them with the technical skills to make handicrafts such as jewelry, handbags, napkins, aprons, etc. that are sold in fairs, bazaars, and private functions. The money collected from these events becomes a source of revenue for the women (and their families) who participate in the program.

This blog explores the opportunities of social entrepreneurship in Malaysia through my personal experience. 

Kimberly Copeland – Blog 5: University Opportunities (?) for Refugees in Malaysia

About a month ago, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in a forum discussing the university education opportunities with Open Universities for Refugees, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and several other refugee-based community schools. I came out of the three day conference with more questions than answers.

This area of refugee education in Malaysia is multi-layered in it’s difficulty to implement between the Malaysian universities, the government, the primary and secondary community schools, and the potential students themselves.

Attached is my blog on the background information surrounding refugee primary and secondary education’s problems in the context of Malaysia and the current opportunities for those refugees who wish to study at university in Malaysia. 

Kimberly Copeland – Blog 5: University Opportunities (?) for Refugees in Malaysia

Past experiences affect how school-aged children navigate school and the relationships they form with teachers and peers – such is the case in particular with refugee children at the Malaysian Social Research Institute, where pre-resettlement history can have significant and dramatic ramifications to academic careers. Gaps in understanding this history in the education system of refugees can negatively affect refugees’ children’s sense of belonging and identity; relationships with peers and teachers; and the correct academic experience, psychosocial services, and future of the child attending school.

My fifth blog was inspired my a forum I attended in early August with Open Universities for Refugees and UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency. I was able to participate in various roundtable discussions throughout the weekend and learn about the many challenges refugee children face in Malaysia in order to obtain an education. Out of this forum, six Memorandums of Understanding were signed by the UNHCR and six Malaysian universities. Currently, there are 40 refugee students enrolled in programs or coursework at Malaysian universities. This emerging education area of opportunity is not met without challenges. Please read more in my attached blog!


Kim Copeland – Blog 4: Interview with Ghasem: English Education Coordinator at MSRI

Ghasem is a twenty two year old refugee from Afghanistan and the English Education Coordinator at the Malaysian Social Research Institute (MSRI). He is also one of my good friends here in Kuala Lumpur and absolutely hilarious. Here is our interview surrounding his personal and professional thoughts on education; his experiences in Afghanistan learning English; and how life has come full-circle for him, teaching English at MSRI.



Kim Copeland – Blog 3: Restructuring an Education System and my Own Work Habits at MSRI

The Malaysian Social Research Institute provides case management, medical consultation and counselling and education (kindergarten, primary and secondary as well as adult English education) to refugees that currently reside in Malaysia.

The Sahabat Support Centre (SSC) began in January 2011 to provide services to refugees from small minority communities predominately from the Middle East and Africa including: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan and Nigeria. In the last five years, there has been a large increase of refugee children and unaccompanied minors that are seeking the services of MSRI. Approximately 30% of the refugee population that MSRI provides services to are under the age of eighteen. Some families face poverty and hardship under these circumstances. Yet, out of this situation, a warm and wonderful MSRI community as flourished out of solidarity and passion.


In my third UVic CAPI blog post I get personal about my transformative experience at the Malaysian Social Research Institute working with Andrea Fernandez, MSRI’s School Manager and the importance of asking for help (and asking to help).




Kim Copeland – Blog 2: The United Nations Global Forum on Migration and Development: History, Objectives, and What is to Come

The Global Forum on Migration and Development is a voluntary, informal, non-binding and government-led process that began after a September 2006 report from the UN General Assembly High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development. The event (usually spanning over a four-day period: two government-led days and two civil society-driven days) is open to United Nations States Members and observers; and civil society.

In my first blog, I look at the history, Operating Modalities, and meeting topics over the nine year course of the United Nations Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) and the upcoming GFMD in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Global Forum on Migration and Development – particularly this year hosted in Dhaka and with proposed themes surrounding regional issues – will be incredibly educational to CAPI students working with NGOs on migration issues.

Attached is my second UVic CAPI blog post.


Kimberly Copeland – Blog 1: Introduction

This introductory week, Danae and I interviewed eachother about our upcoming internships with WARBE and MSRI.

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