Meeting of Minds: BRAINetwork & Mattel Children’s Foundation
BRAINetwork obtained a seed grant from the Mattel Children’s Foundation more than a year ago. The grant helped by providing the toys that are being used as a basis for the neuroplastic Curriculum-In-A-Box that is currently being used in an indigenous community in RPS Air Banun. The project took some time to take off as a large part of the initial stage was to win the hearts and minds of the community. This was a community that was used to handouts and projects from well-meaning organisations. These projects often lacked sustainability and usually died a natural death after the first meeting. We had a tough time convincing the community that BRAINetwork was going to be there with them and that we were in it for the long haul and to ensure sustainability.
Two local youth, Hatijah and Maryana were trained as the first ever Orang Asal facilitators given the task of actually managing and providing direction for the daily management and education of three-year-old Orang Asal children. See the video for a brief view of the transformation of the dilapidated Community Hall into a vibrant Mind Centre.
January 2014 marked a historic time for BRAINetwork, as we worked together with the Orang Asal Community to set up the Pusat Minda Mesra. A meeting was held with Mr Arunagiri Manikam, VP of Mattel Inc. on 12th February where progress on the project was discussed at length. The meeting was also attended by Puan Faeezah Ismail from Tadika Homalee, as we plan to set up a similar centre in an urban setting. While these centres serve as an important aspect of community development, nevertheless, at the heart of it all, BRAINetwork remains a research centre and having a centre in a rural/ indigenus community as well as one in an urban setting will allow us to do a comparative study of five different aspects of the neurocognitive system and how the use of specific toys can help enhance brain development specifically in terms of learning and memory.
Thank You Mattel and Thank You Homalee for your continued support for this project.