Shark Savers Malaysia was invited to participate in the World Ocean Day events from 1-9 June 2013 by Paradigm Mall in Kuala Lumpur. Here is a report from Jenny Chin and Kirk Lee.
In preparing for World Ocean Day, we knew it would occur during the school holidays. We quickly came up with a string of activities for the kids. We decided that our message would no longer focus on ‘no shark fin’ and instead help kids to learn to love sharks rather than fear them. By cultivating an interest and curiosity for sharks, we hope they will see sharks as they see pandas and tigers: beautiful, special and worthy of our protection. Our slogan, therefore, was Love Sharks, It All Begins With You.
In less than 7 days we created and printed a kids’ brochure which included a word puzzle, printed balloons, handmade shark stencils for our glitter tattoos (big thanks to Alicia Tan for the beautiful work and Olivia for the brilliant idea!) and opened 5 new shark figurine clay craft sessions (big thanks to Olivia Sow for sponsoring the clay and teaching!).
1st June came. Since we were given a very short notice on the event, we did not have much time to gather enough volunteers. We began our event with our fingers crossed and confirmed 5 volunteers to help with the 9-day event.
Puppet shows (9 shows in total), Presentations (2 sessions), Shark figurine clay craft (5 sessions) and Shark Savers coloring contest (2 sessions).. At our booth, we had Puzzle games, balloons and glitter tattoo counter. Running from 10am – 9pm at our booth, we had the Puzzle game (nobody gets a balloon or tattoo without doing the puzzle first). There are 8 questions to the puzzle each describing a fun fact about a certain shark species. Each person who came to our booth went away with a free balloon and glitter tattoo or body art and learnt something new about 8 shark species. An educator at the booth was necessary at all times to help the children and adults with the answers.
Needless to say, the glitter tattoos and balloons were a big hit! And since everyone needed to do the puzzle first our booth had a constant queue! Thankfully , volunteers began showing up one after another totalling 23 people; you guys are amazing!! And so with the help of these Shark Angels, we had a great and successful 9-day event teaching kids and their parents about sharks and why we need to save them.
On top of all these our local celebrity Amber Chia and her son Ashton graced our event as the prize presenter to the colouring contest winners. Their special appearance had brought many smiles and excitement too as many shoppers hung around to get a view or a photo. Amber was one of the 13 local celebrities who volunteered in our Shark PSA made in 2010. An advocate and supporter of our No shark fin campaign she had also expressed her view on saving sharks to the public while on stage during the prize giving ceremony.
We had Voila, our long standing supporter with us again! They had sponsored our puppet stage and bunting. This time they have provided us with many beautiful prizes for the colouring contest, games time which we had before each puppet show and also for the Q&A session. The kids were excited to have them!
We have received many good reports from kids and parents alike that they enjoyed the show, activities and the education. Very encouragingly many people came to tell us to keep up the good work and that they support our message. Many of the kids were amazed and wide-eyed after learning some new shark facts. We received feedback from a parent that her kids had brought what they learnt home and convinced their father to stop eating shark fin soup! My student, who came to the event, could not stop asking questions about sharks during our swimming class 4 days after the event! We are very happy that all our (and our fellow volunteers') hard work had paid off. Education and awareness is key to change.