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Changemaker From Pitas, Pushes For Practical Efforts Against Poverty

Meet Jafre Nordin… 

Jafre is World Vision Malaysia’s Sabah Team Leader. The organisation is an International Christian Humanitarian Organisation, that is dedicated to overcoming poverty and injustice amongst children and families[1]. World Vision Malaysia (WVM) was set up in 1997, originally aimed at child sponsorship programmes, however, they have since expanded to cover community transformational development programmes, specifically advocacy initiatives and emergency response[1]. Whilst this organisation is iconic, Jafre’s journey that led him to join is also an interesting tale. 

Jafre giving a short motivational speech to the children of Tatalaan community. Source: World Vision

Inspired By The Challenges Of His Youth

Jafre’s exposure to poverty started off at a really young age. As the fourth son, in a family of eight, Jafre grew up in a rural village that had no access to the main road. The district of Pitas was very clearly underdeveloped. It was difficult to access clinics and hospitals, and many children did not enrol in early education because of the large distance between their homes and the school. In terms of income, the village folk would spend their days farming and hunting to make ends meet. 

Lunch break on the way in to Tatalaan. Source: World Vision

Yet regardless of these hardships, Jafre only had fond memories of his childhood. 

I was supported by my parents. Because even though we live in a poor area, they would always inspire me to break the cycle of poverty through my education. My mum used to tell me about our successful family members as role models for me to follow suit. They inspired me to work hard, to compete, no matter the struggles. – Jafre Nordin

Jafre with the children of Tulid Community Development Programme. Source: World Vision

Jafre worked and focused hard on his education to open up more opportunities for himself. He travelled to Peninsular where he completed a Graduate Diploma in Transformational  Development (Asia Graduate School of Theology); a Degree in Environmental Health and Safety (UITM Puncak Alam Selangor); Pastor’s School by the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia; Malaysia Indigenous Clinical Pastor’s Education (MICPE); and Theological Education by Extension  (TEE) (Seminary Theology Malaysia, Seremban). 

It wasn’t until the 1st October 2015, that his journey led him to join World Vision. Jafre was among the first to be trained in the Community Development Programme (CDP) staff. Now, he oversees two Community Development Programmes (Tulid and Tatalaan), motivated by his Christian values.

Jafre presenting a token of appreciation to a representative of World Vision partner post-workshop. Source: World Vision

Taking A Religious Inspiration To A New Level

While he was away from home, Jafre never forgot about his faith. He actively participated in church activities in hopes of being able to aid those in need. However, after a while Jafre noticed that whilst these groups were preaching, they did not spend much time within the community itself. 

They didn’t really convince me about the impact that they were claiming to have on the community. So now that I am working with World Vision I am able to take what our groups previously theorised, and apply it practically to help the community. – Jafre Nordin

Jafre joins the children as they learn about the food pyramid. Source: World Vision

Now Jafre can actively see the positive impact he has on communities, using what was said in theory and applying it practically. This approach has allowed him to build a much closer bond with the local community, and witness the change he is advocating for happening right in front of his eyes. 

I love driving off roads into rural areas to meet new people. Playing sports and engaging in activities with colleagues and seeing the change take place. Recently, I have seen these communities take their education, health, child protection and overall livelihood, and hold them in a much higher regard than they did before. More children are attending schools. More parents are ensuring that their children have the right nutrition needed to grow. It’s a joy to be a part of. – Jafre Nordin

Passionate Perspective Helps To Overcome Challenges

Of course, there are challenges in Jafres’ line of work, especially as he is based in Sabah. He mentions the long distances that he has to travel to reach these vulnerable communities. The lack of infrastructure and poor road conditions make Sabah hard to access. Jafre and his team are often met with communication limitations, lack of staff and family time, not to mention that these commutes often put them at risk of injury. 

Despite these challenges, Jafre continues and will continue to advocate for the less fortunate communities throughout Sabah. Fueled by his desire to learn more about the livelihood of others, and the power to bring about change to those in need, Jafre loves what he does. 

One of the Kampungs. Source: World Vision

To those looking for the same kind of passion, I would advise you to never let the learning stop. Never miss an opportunity to gain knowledge and once you have it, share it. I know money is a big deal, but working for something you believe in, finding your passion, is far better value. – Jafre Nordin

Explore Our Sources:

  1. World Vision. (n.d). Who We Are. Link. 

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