Inaugural Volunteer Abroad Program in Malaysia

First 17 volunteers go abroad with Islamic Relief Canada to support Rohingya refugee children. 

Over the course of a few weeks, seventeen Canadian volunteers participated in IRC’s first volunteer abroad program, facilitating fun, educational activities for Rohingya refugee children in Malaysia.

However, the positive impact of this program on both the volunteers and children was so much more than we could have anticipated.


Psychosocial support for the children played a key role throughout this program. As refugees, many of these children have been through extremely traumatic events that many of us would find unimaginable.

The inclusion of art and sports activities allowed the children to develop a variety of skills, such as teamwork and motor learning, but also provided them with an avenue to explore their emotions in a safe environment.  

The children were also exposed to a new way of learning about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), topics that are extremely important and applicable in today’s world.

From learning about the principles of bridge building to how we breathe to finding math concepts in the real-world, the children were able to take theoretical concepts and put them to use through hands-on activities.

In addition to these activities, the children visited the zoo and national science centre.  

The volunteers greatly contributed to IR Canada’s current project through activity facilitation, psychosocial support, community development, and fundraising.

While in the field, the volunteers conducted beneficiary visits and a food distribution for Ramadan, as well as rehabilitated one of the Rohingya community centres.

This program was a rare first-hand opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges refugees face and how we as Canadians can support the needs of refugees from afar.

During the program, volunteers underwent a lot of reflection on how this experience has transformed them as an individual and how it has created a sense of duty to help this much-needed cause.

Their hard work and engagement was evident throughout the entire program, as well as after returning home, as many continue to advocate and spread awareness about the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to IR Malaysia for partnering with us for this pilot program. IR Malaysia were gracious hosts for both IR Canada and the volunteers.

We would also like to extend our gratitude to the volunteers for making this a great pilot program. In total, the volunteers were able to raise $46,865 CAD that will go towards phase two of this project starting this summer.

Stay tuned to learn more about the next phase of the project!