Who we are
We help people learn social values through nature as a teaching medium. Social values like growing a strong foundation, being a force for good, collaboration while maintaining individuality, life-giving leadership, and so on. We find that these values are shared by both man (social) and nature (ecological). For example, ‘fruitfulness’ is a common value and purpose in both nature and humans. And just as ‘diversity’ makes a natural ecosystem resilient, so does it foster better human societies. In building that understanding, we hope that people may be inspired by the goodness of nature to bring about the goodness of humanity.
Good Stewards is the first to conduct a programme like this. To be what we advocate – transforming society for good – we run it as a social enterprise. That means while we’re doing what we love, we include underprivileged brothers and sisters in the program. Also, any profits go to them after paying ourselves a modest salary.
Why are we doing this
We think it’s fabulous to be reflecting on good ol’ virtues and values in the good ol’ woods. But after getting cold feet about actually doing it for good people, we’re glad that there’s much more that motivate us besides a fabulous idea. We believe our society can become better in many ways – daily compassion, more creativity in life ambitions, care for the needy. And it starts with the individual. Because when we choose to make a better society, we choose to first make a difference in ourselves.
And so it is our deed as Good Stewards. We hope to inspire and encourage a few to embrace a higher calling in life – for small deeds done everyday is no ordinary feat. It is also our hope that people who share our program will be moved to see that the nature that surrounds and nurtures us is in great need too of small acts of kindness and love.
The Youthful Forest Walk
This program is designed with the youth in mind, although anyone from 10 – 110 will find it inspiring. Participants are encouraged to reflect on three social values that matter to individuals and our society today. We facilitate that by sharing how the same three values can actually be seen in nature. In the beautiful, lush and fruitful forest, we point out to participants that nature is brimming with goodness. By making the connection, that the forest is good and fruitful and that the same social values are present in the forest, we hope to inspire our participants to value these values. Perhaps the imagery of becoming a good and fruitful forest can then accompany them in their journey of life.
Here’s an example of what we mean. We value diversity in our society. It is a wonderful social value that stems from acceptance, respect for others and celebration of variety. We can point out the great diversity in Malaysian society – an almost endless feast of different ethnic foods, festivities that bind us, a staggering richness in folk art, and so on. So how can we be inspired by nature to protect diversity as a social value? Diversity of life-forms is almost always a defining feature of healthy ecosystems. In the forest, we point out the many layers of plant life at different sections, and the myriad animal communities that they support. Whenever a forest loses diversity, it becomes less fruitful by losing its ability to support as many animals, or becoming more prone to pest destruction. Sometimes, a forest ecosystem deprived of its key diversity can become so destabilised that it collapses. By making the connection between the social sphere and the natural world in a common value, we encourage our participants to see the value of diversity in an inspiring setting. Hopefully, the goodness and fruitfulness of a forest full of diversity can serve to strengthen our participant’s appreciation of diversity in their life journey.
As we walk through the forest, stopping at attractions and pretty spots (canopy walkway, stream, etc), participants are actively engaged through lively narration, games, personal storytelling and the thriving wildlife. A lovely personal journal with artworks is given to every participant to help in reflection. Views are heard and respected, time is taken to linger. Stories are shared over a delicious lunch. At the end of the walk, we will bring together the day’s learning at a very special spot, and encourage participants to find their place in the great journey towards a better society.
We do our best to serve the unique needs of our participants. This means we will spend time beforehand to listen to each group’s needs and particular journey, customise and tweak the syllabus and conduct follow-up after the program. We therefore encourage group leaders or guardians to the participants to join the program, at no charge. This way, the learning and reflection can continue beyond the program with others who can encourage and build up.
Location: FRIM @Kepong, KL (Forest Research Institute of Malaysia)
Time: 9am – 3pm
Fees: RM 900 per group of up to 6 persons (1-2 facilitators) / RM 1800 per group of up to 15 persons (2 facilitators)
Fees include lunch & snacks, a personal journal for each participant, FRIM admission fees.
Group leaders/guardians are invited to join at no charge.
We also customised programmes for schools and corporations
We include the underprivileged as part of our work. And we do this as our customers join our programs, because part of the fees go to subsidising our work with them. We do not wait till our salaries are paid to bless the underprivileged as we do it side-by-side with our work for paying customers.Here’s how:
- We may ask the underprivileged to join in the same program as paying customers to encourage people from different backgrounds to know one another
- We may conduct the same program for the underprivileged, on another day
- We will ask organisations for the underprivileged how we can best extend a helping hand or become a long-term partner
We are keen to share the blessings with the following underprivileged folks:
– Children of single parents, especially mothers
– People from troubled backgrounds
Because we believe in effecting lasting change, we choose to work with organisations already working with the underprivileged. This way, we can complement the good work they are already doing.
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