A Bit About Us
Home of Peace (HOP) is based in Kuala Lumpur and is a children’s home registered with the Registrar of Societies and the Ministry of Welfare Malaysia.
The Home was set up in late1993 and officially registered the following year by our founder, Ms Justine Morais. Justine saw the need to champion the basic rights of children to loving nurture, safety, a sense of belonging and self-worth, and education – rights often overlooked or neglected within struggling home and family environments.
Supported by a versatile Board of Advisors who share her passion to help vulnerable children, Justine runs the Home with six paid staff, a handful of hired teachers and a dedicated team of volunteers. Today, Home of Peace shelters children from ages 3 to 18 years.
The groundwork for the Home was laid through Justine’s visits to distribute provisions to struggling families in the Klang Valley. She noted that it was too often the children who suffered most, with limited access to education and medical support. As she worked with these challenged families, Justine would emphasise how educating their children would be their key path out of the cycle of challenges. She also suggested that housing their children at Home of Peace could benefit them – it would give these parents/single parents the space to earn a living, and significantly reduce their financial burdens.
In addition, the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM), a section of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Relations refers children who need shelter and care to Home of Peace. These cases are heard at the Magistrate Court where custody is granted to Justine.
The children who are referred by the government are periodically reviewed by the Magistrate Court, which then grants Home of Peace a further three-year custody extension upon meeting all criteria.
Apart from these main activities of child nurturing and education, the Home continues to supply groceries, books and school stationery to local families in need of help.
Since 1994, the Home has helped more than 80 children.
Some of their happiest success stories include:
Twins who were abandoned in hospital at birth are now safe in the loving embrace of the Home of Peace family.
Two children from Nigeria were safely returned home to their deported mother after Justine worked with JKM and the Nigerian Embassy.
A five-year-old girl with hearing and speech issues has been provided with hearing aids and speech &language therapy, thanks to a generous sponsor from the Association of British Women in Malaysia. She will also be receiving art psychotherapy to help with behavioural issues stemming from her early childhood.
A number of the children have pushed themselves to go further in their education, supported by generous sponsors who have financed their college and university courses. One of our girls, for example, is now working at a restaurant chain in Singapore, after completing a culinary course. Another hopes to complete her Masters in early childcare in New Zealand once border closures are lifted, post-pandemic.
“On our scheduled visits to the home, Justine, is always open to showing us around the home and we meet all the girls and staff. It is a very active, happy household and the girls are encouraged to work hard at their studies and be the best they can. Justine will always try her hardest to ensure the girls are able to go to university if that is their wish, but they need to ensure they make the grades. This is a home we at ABWM are very happy to support, as the girls are well supported and adjusted.”
Emphasis on Academics
Initially, Home of Peace helped to register the girls in local schools and sourced the help of tutors to fill the gaps in their education. However, many of the girls experienced difficulties at school, often caused by language barriers as they were not fluent in Bahasa Malaysia, the medium of instruction in government schools. . Classrooms were often crowded, making concentration on studies challenging. A decision was therefore made in 2013 to home-school the children at Home of Peace.
The home-school has been in operation since then, with the help of volunteer teachers. For subjects where volunteers were unavailable, teachers were hired through fund-raising.
Currently, the older children are being prepared for the IGCSE examinations, thanks to the generosity and kindness extended by a local International School, through their community outreach programme. We are so grateful for this incredibly dedicated team of management staff and volunteer teachers, who not only teach our students and share their teaching resources, but encourage, advise and sponsor the examination fees as well. The school has also kindly allowed access to their science laboratories so our students have the necessary exposure to practical experiments for the examination.
Our primary school children follow a theme-based curriculum each term, based on the International Primary Curriculum. At the end of each term, our home-school students present a sampling of what they have learnt during the term in the form of PowerPoint presentations, classwork displays, experiments, skits, etc. to a live audience made up of their teachers and invited guests. The purpose of this exercise is to build confidence in the children and seal what they have learnt.
Projects / Enterprises
Beyond academics, the children are encouraged to explore all their talents and gifting. In order to facilitate this, various projects have been organised with the help of subject/career experts in the hope of discovering, coaxing out and refining these latent talents within each child.
Our Vegetable Patch
Very few things in life are more satisfying than planting a seed and watching the miracle of it taking root and growing – and then seeing the produce served at the table! The children love spending their evenings tending to the vegetables grown in our own little garden. They have tried their hand at growing carrots, aubergines, long beans, chillies, okra, ginger, turmeric, coriander, sweet potato, pumpkin, rosemary, pak choy, spinach, mint, tomatoes, basil, parsley, yam and even curry leaves.
Through this initiative, agriculture, geography, mathematics, science and home-economics lessons have come alive. The children are learning about the different types of vegetables, their growing conditions, germination, soil conditions, the results of over- or under-watering, and the effects of the climate or weather on their crop, among other things. And nothing beats the joy and sense of accomplishment when they see their harvest deliciously cooked and served at the dinner table, knowing that their efforts have contributed to cost-saving measures for the Home!
Singing is an excellent way to express one’s emotions, gratitude, sense of belonging and assurance. It is also a great avenue for stress–relief! Ever since they were introduced to a variety of vocal techniques and rhythm through the generous sponsorship of an accomplished music teacher, the children have learnt to sing in parts and harmonise. Since 2020, the weekly choir classes are now conducted online and the children have benefitted tremendously from these lessons. Apart from giving them a sense of achievement and confidence, singing has enabled them to appreciate different cultures from around the globe, through learning songs in a variety of languages.
The Home organises annual Christmas Concerts, where we host all our volunteers and donors. In addition to singing, the children take ownership to plan, arrange the music and choreograph their steps to show appreciation to all who have invested in their lives. The choir and singing lessons have also inspired the children to teach themselves to play the ukulele and other instruments via ‘YouTube’ tutorials. They presently also enjoy online guitar lessons. The culmination of all these lessons is showcased at our Christmas Concert.
At Christmas 2020, the students organised a virtual instead of physical concert due to the coronavirus pandemic, where they recorded, edited and arranged music videos for each song, apart from their singing. Technical difficulties and glitches were overcome, and they successfully aired their first Zoom concert without the assistance of any technical experts. This virtual concert saw our faithful band of sponsors and volunteers from around the world gathering as a virtual audience for the first time to cheer them on.
We are constantly amazed by how children who have been deprived of stable family backgrounds and basic necessities can bloom so beautifully when their hidden talents are tapped and allowed full expression.
Special thank you to Ms Bernadette Nagy for the continuous support and Ms Yon Lynn Tan for faithfully conducting choir lessons every Monday!
Over the years, our children have had online art classes as well as face-to-face lessons introducing them to various art genres, and studies of the life and history of various artists.
Art lessons tweak a child’s curiosity about nature and their surroundings, teasing their senses and yielding creative results. It is a powerful channel to express not only their frustrations and fears, but also their hopes and dreams. Playing with colours, textures, designs and patterns allows for mistakes, flaws and imperfections and we encourage our children to be free – unjudged and unhindered. Whether the child is exploring the mixture of colours, painting or sketching real life events in their life, using various hues to express disappointments, despair or joy, or simply expressing their natural artistry, we treasure their artwork and they are filled with a huge sense of accomplishment.
For this reason, it was a proud moment for the children when a sponsor undertook the printing of their artwork onto fabric carrier bags. They were also thrilled when a magnanimous group sponsored art exhibitions in their honour. The children have had three art exhibitions so far at the following venues:
The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Theatre,
Art Printing Works (APW) and
The Residence of The British High Commissioner.
Special thank you to Ms Helen Pereira for her support and patience in working with the children in producing these masterpieces!
Our Chefs, Bakers and Culinary Artists
The children love cooking, baking, icing, creating new dishes and exploring traditional recipes and fusion food, but what they enjoy most is sampling what their own hands have made! Baking at Home of Peace means lots of laughter, and depending on the age group, there is experimenting with food colours, playing with dough, or even squeezing the icing bag.
The little ones enjoy kneading the dough which improves their fine motor skills, and discovering the different shapes produced by cookie cutters. The older ones, meanwhile, are schooled in measurements, temperatures, and textures, learning about liquid and dry ingredients in a fun and safe environment.
At Home of Peace, each child is encouraged to discover and develop their giftings and talents. Suba, for one, discovered her passion for drawing and handiwork was more than just an ordinary skill. She has created many spectacular art-pieces that have attracted the admiration of others, leading to her pursuing this as a component of her future career.
Susanna, who has since left the Home to work in Singapore, is another of our girls who has taken her gift in culinary arts to a new level. Her current job at a restaurant chain is part of her journey venturing into new worlds of culinary creativity.
The children love to read, which eventually results in their attempts to create their own literary works. This includes short stories, testimonies, poems, essays on topics of interest, and journals of their experiences. You can view their work by clicking on the given link below:
Photographic Essays on Film
It is indeed true what Margaret Wolfe Hungerford said, that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. One of our older girls, Shelyna, discovered a whole new world of beauty through the lens of a camera. Ever since someone kindly donated a camera to Home of Peace, Shelyna has explored diverse angles and fresh perspectives in the art of photography. If you would like to view some of her ‘Essays on Film’, please check out her page on Instagram:
An Outstanding and Fulfilling Future
Home of Peace is always concerned about the future of our children, even after they leave this protected environment. Our brightest hope is to help each child realise their dreams.
As such, we are constantly on the lookout for kind and generous individuals or organisations who are willing to support those who will soon be old enough to leave the Home and venture into their next phase of learning. Your loving support will help them as they set out to earn a living and manage themselves while seeking out accommodation as well as their place in the larger world outside the Home.
Staying Connected – Home of Peace Alumni
Just like a quilt, where fabric scraps of bygone times with different shapes, colours and textures – some discarded, some having suffered much at the hands of others, some neglected for being plain, some with blemishes or imperfections – are sewn together to produce a beautiful and breath-taking piece of art that tells a story, the hearts of our Home of Peace children, despite their diverse stories and backgrounds, are intertwined. The happy days spent at Home of Peace can never be erased from their memories and the family bonds formed here will certainly be treasured forever.
This is why Home of Peace is setting up an Alumni for those with the shared experience of having walked through the familiar corridors of our Home, and who have experienced the unique fellowship, love and joy of family here.
The Alumni will have a dual purpose. They will not only stay in touch and keep the fond memories alive, but they will also be a blessing to other vulnerable children by paying it forward. There will always be children in need and members of the Home of Peace Alumni will best understand the emotions and insecurities of such children. Having spread their wings and now equipped with an education and a better position in life, their hearts will naturally lean towards helping these children. In this way, it is our prayer that the good work that began years ago at Home of Peace will continue on, and that it will be our Alumni who will carry the torch for future generations to come.
"HOP has given me the knowledge of having good moral values and the importance of an education. It was an experience growing up in HOP. I had many opportunities to do things that I would never have had, learnt many life lessons, picked up many life skills and got an Education too!
Though I was in HOP for 15 years I never felt out of place, it was more a family oriented atmosphere, I received love and care and at times discipline too!!!
HOP gave me the opportunity to complete my studies. I completed a Diploma Course in Secretarial Skills. This was made possible by a Scholarship given by a Law Firm in Kuala Lumpur. I now work in an Architect’s firm and I enjoy my work. Being raised in HOP has given me a resilience to overcome obstacles in my path. I grew up in a house with seven to twelve different characters, we had our moments but we learnt to work together! Life in that yellow house was never dull!!"