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Yellow House KL

About

Yellow House KL is the first dedicated volunteer hostel and multi project volunteer organisation established in Kuala Lumpur. We work on a variety of projects in the areas of education, community development, environmental protection, child welfare and aiding disadvantaged citizens.

Yellow House KL engages with the local community to develop projects that are sustainable, targeted and have a strong focus on providing knowledge and practical skills to those we are trying to assist.

Reviews

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Tommaso
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Simply an amazing experience

The Yellow House is a very special place and the experience you can have there is simply great! This was the first volunteer I had when I first started my trip in Asia and so I will always be thankful to Shyam for giving me the opportunity to be part of her project, even just for a little while. During my traveling I've been here more than once and every single time has been great! If I am in KL for any reason, this is the place I want to be, because I know that I will feel like at home but at the same time learning some more about life and helping.
During my stays (which were always between one and two weeks), I have been helping with different projects and twice a week we used to go to the swimming pool to help the Special Children of Ampang. This is an experience that I would recommend to everyone! Is amazing how just have a swim with people with different abilities can bring so close to them and have a real and simple contact with the human being, at the most basic level. It's just about helping, swimming and playing with them but soon you will discover that actually everybody is the same in the pool! so you just have to enjoy your time because is something that you will remember for a long time! The first time I went to the pool was in November of 2014 and the last time in March 2016, and I have to say that it was so good to see the children again and that they actually made a lot of progresses and they had become such good swimmers!
The Yellow House is simply a must for me... You have to go there once and see what it is all about also because you will enjoy so much more your stay in Malaysia in general. In Ampang you can see a real part of Malaysia with all the food, the smells and the people that make part of this beautiful country.

Mercedes
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

overwhelming experience

I did my first volunteering experience in Malaysia at the Yellow House.. and it was such an impact in my travels and life… that I came back again, and again, and again.
Shyam and her project are inspiring by themselves. She gives you the opportunity to discover a different Kuala Lumpur, a more human side of it, and also, she opens the doors to discover yourself in this world.. as a little seed ready for changing this world. I got the chance to help in different areas and activities, and I must say that swimming with children and adults with different abbilities blew up my mind. They are the smartest and nicest persons I have ever met. They will be the ones teaching you about life, while you are encouraging them to keep swimming, keep paddling, and kicking the water….
And it was amazing to see the progress these kids have done as months passed by. I came back 3 times since then; it is hard to explain the joy of seeing each other again, and my heart jumping of happiness because they still remembered me, but moreover I was so proud of them and their improved work: watching them being the owners of that world: “THE SWIMMING POOL” all for themselves.. being equally happy and skilled.
Shyam is totally devoted to all the projects and this way of life… sharing her energy, and smiles, and whatever she has, to anyone that needs her, and that is something that you will feel since the moment you step on at the YELLOW HOUSE front yard.
She will also give you the opportunity to teach any Subject that you are skilled at (from English, Maths, Science, Literature, till Arts) to Refugees and at the Special School, sharing what you most love to those that most need your help.
It is overwhelming the way she talks to everybody, but specially to homeless people when she wash their hair: the way she makes eye contact with them, she listens to what they are saying, and make them smile and laugh… She gives them that human contact, and the DIGNITY that the society have stolen to them…
This is a unique space, where you will be knocked by different realities and ways of living, surrounded by the crazy city of KL… You will understand the mix of cultures, and their smells, flavors, colors… You will end up loving every part of it, and what is best… you will be part of something, that is more than a 2 weeks experience; because you will be so connected and in love of what you and Shyam, and the others volunteers are doing, that you will be committed for life to the project.

What would you improve about this program?
I can t find a thing that I would change at the Yellow House...
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Russell
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Learn about mangrove eco system

I have always been interested in mangroves and its effect on fish population as it was a part of my degree in University. So naturally I chose this project to volunteer with. My typical day started very early where I was picked up for breakfast beside the sea. Then we are driven out to the nursery where we spent the day collecting seedlings and planting young trees, I really liked the fishermen we worked with. Although they spoke limited English, our organizer was there to help translate. In that one week, I formed a friendship with them and was impressed with the level of patience that they had when explaining how to perform the various tasks during the volunteering duration. I also learned a lot about fishing! In the evenings, the other volunteers and I would sit at the village restaurants and meet interesting local people. The food was absolutely amazing. Highly recommended.

What would you improve about this program?
try to invest in a bilingual Bahasa Malaysia - English dictionary.
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Sara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fulfilling experience

I work as a special education needs teacher back in Spain and working with the special children is close to my heart. In my line of work, I find children with autism and other mental disabilities are wrongly understood. These children are wonderful and sensitive. My 2 weeks at Yellow House started with an introduction at school and I found just this small act of introducing the volunteers to the children first shows how much effort and thought Yellow House has put into making both the children and volunteers comfortable. This really told me that my 2 weeks is going to be amazing. I also got to swim with the special kids and helped bake cookies. These little activities help them coordinate their thoughts and exercise their fingers to be more agile.
Overall, it was a fantastic experience. It was great to have a sense of being able to give back to the Yellow House community as well. It just took a small bit of individual effort, but when you add the small bits all together, the result is a home away from home that is a a great place to stay.

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Gabor
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A way to have fun and experience something amazing

The YH experience goes beyond having fun in a beautiful country, meeting wonderful people and becoming part of a community. It has tough me to extend my limits, and do things that will be starting me off a new path in my life. Teaching in the special needs school, cutting hair of homeless and feeding them gave me something I will carry forever. I am so happy that I had a chance to stay at YH, and I think everybody should try it, for 2 weeks, or for longer....and Sham....well she is beyond wonderful....go see yourself, you will LOVE it!!!!!

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Gabor Botka

Gábor is a Sales Project Manager at Mondeléz International, and a member of the Board of Management for Hungary. He is a two-time Ironman who does a wide variety of volunteerism through running, such as guiding visually impaired athletes on races, and feeding the homeless from a backpack while he completes his morning run. This winter he volunteered for Yellow House Kuala Lumpur serving the local community and as well as traveling in Malaysia.
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Why did you pick this program?

I wanted to volunteer somewhere outside of my country, as a means of mixing the pleasure of traveling with working for a good cause. Yellow House Kuala Lumpur became my choice, as they are located in a wonderful and exciting environment, and do great work for the community of Kuala Lumpur. Through this program I had a chance to work with autistic children in a local special needs school, provide haircuts for the homeless at night, as well as cook for them on the streets of KL. This experience was quite far out of my comfort zone, yet it was so rewarding and fun.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

I tell everybody that it is so much easier than they think. All you have to do is decide on where you want to go, and the opportunities are endless. I choose KL because it was wintertime in Europe (Christmas actually), and summer in Malaysia. It was a 3-week escape from the rat race, and so rewarding! I meet people both much younger and much older than me. For example, I met a 60-something Hollander, who has remained in Malaysia as he enjoys it so much. It was a lesson that traveling has nothing to with age or money, it's all about resourcefulness and desire for adventure.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Be prepared and learn about the country you're visiting before you go. I went on a trip to the jungle in shorts and a simple shirt, only to get bitten by a mosquito and get dengue fever - I was out for a good couple of days. I had never even heard of dengue, but fortunately the YH owner Sham was there and got me back to good health in no time. Also, if you know in advance what you would like to do and visit, you can make your travels more efficient. You don't need to pack a lot. I went with a small carry on backpack, and got by fine. Don't pack excessively, you can always find what you need at the location.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

I loved the midnight haircut session we provided for local homeless people in the ghetto of KL. I will surely tell this story to my grandchildren one day. We set up a hair salon in an alley, at 9 pm. My job was to cut hair with a buzzer - something I have never done before. It was quite dark, with only a small amount of light from lamps. I ended giving about 30 haircuts, most of them simply buzzed off. There were a few who wanted styling (again, something I've never done before). They may have been the worst haircuts in history and I wondered what they thought the next day when they looked in the mirror! By the way, we didn't bring mirrors. Only afterwards did I understand why.

How can one find such opportunities?

There are a wealth of websites offering volunteering experiences across the globe. Literally thousands of jobs await. You simply need to choose a location that you wish to travel, and get in contact with the individual or company offering the opportunity. While you'll likely have to pay for traveling expenses, and accommodation, I got by in Malaysia budgeting just $3 per day for food! A very small price to pay for such an incredible experience!