Saturday, January 16

12 Kids Speakers meet world public speaking champ


Hettiarachchi poses for a group photo with the Kids Speakers.

KUCHING: Twelve Kids Speakers here recently had the opportunity to meet 2014 Toastmasters International World Champion of Public Speaking Dananjaya Hettiarachchi.

Hettiarachchi, who is from Sri Lanka and the first Asian to win the championship, was here to speak at the Toastmasters International District 87 Conference.

He obliged the Kids Speakers with his autograph and the children also had the opportunity to chat with 2013 world championship third place winner Shurooq Albanna from Dubai.

They also attended the speech contests, which involved speakers from Brunei, Indonesia and East Malaysia.

“I learned that when giving a speech, I must be confident, fluent and knowledgeable … it also helps to keep your audience entertained when speaking,” said Charlotte Lau, 11.

Tania Toh, 12, called it an “awesome contest”, where she and her friends got to take selfies with Hettiarachchi and Albanna.

“We got their autographs, email and phone numbers. I learnt how to evaluate speakers better and I will definitely attend the next contest,” said Toh.

Nathan Ho, 11, observed: “The speakers were truly courageous and confident. It was inspiring to watch them.”

Fellow 11-year-old Lloyd Toh also found the experience positive.

“The contest was interesting and unforgettable. We got to meet the world champion,” he said.

Kids Speak is a programme which provides children, aged seven to 12, a platform to build their confidence through public speaking in English.

Programme coordinator and facilitator Rebecca Chieng was a semi-finalist at the 2013 Toastmasters International
World Championship of Public Speaking in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Kids Speak recently conducted five showcases where 66 children spoke and presented various types of speeches — informative speeches, demonstration speeches, stories and poems.

To learn more, go to the wherekidsspeakup Facebook page.