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Once upon a time at Zophei Nursery...

Updated: Jan 13, 2019

Do you have any memories of your nursery days? Mine are all related to the games we used to play and the toys we had there. I remember that while other little girls used to get into a fight over who gets to play with the nicest doll, I was busy with the building blocks… probably because I had plenty of dolls at home, but no blocks to build forts with! Such nice memories!

I’ve recently had a very different nursery experience, however. Being an ibu volunteer, I’ve recently got involved with the charities we support and I was invited by Riina, our Charity Coordinator to visit Zophei Nursery in Pudu. It was a truly humbling experience!

Lunchtime at the nursery

ibu has been supporting Zophei in various ways since the beginning of 2018. If you’ve been following us on social media, you might remember reading about us donating furniture from ibu House and financing the salary of an additional teacher. Even with all the help that we’ve been able to provide, the school has very little — one of the rooms has no furniture at all, there aren’t any books or toys, not even educational resources. I’m sure that these children won’t have the same memories that I do!

The school has 85 Burmese refugee children, who are looked after by four teachers. Before ibu started contributing to the monthly salary of the fourth teacher, there were only three of them doing absolutely everything for the children. As a teacher myself, I thought I knew the hard work that this profession entailed, but this visit was an eye opener! These amazing teachers teach the kids, feed them, serve and clean up after them, and supervise them all day. Our visit happened to coincide with their nap time and I was amazed how little noise they made, even though there were more than 80 kids in the room. Kudos to their teachers!

The kids get one meal a day between 11am and 12 noon, that is cooked by the teachers. They need to wait to be picked up by their parents at 4pm before they can have their next meal. Zophei’s budget doesn’t leave much room for spending on snacks, especially not healthy ones. That’s why we at ibu have tried to get our online community involved and asked people to donate food and basic supplies, and getting them delivered to the school using online delivery services just before Christmas.

The head teacher has been running the school for the past 6 years and she told us about her dream: they’d like to take all of the children to the zoo! The idea came about because one day when the kids were learning the alphabet through associating the letters with animal names, the children said they’d love to see some of these animals. Unfortunately, the school hasn’t been able to raise enough money for this trip so far, so ibu is trying to help them make this trip a reality.

ibu works closely with a few selected charities so that we can help make a bigger impact for those who need it the most. If you want to find out more about our charitable work, get involved or make a donation, please write to



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