‘Theraplay’ by UTM Landscape Architecture Students Won The Best Project Award of Project For Happiness 2021

Six Landscape Architecture 3rd year students from the Faculty of Built Environment & Surveying, UTM won the best project award as first place in “the project for Happiness 2021” on 8th January 2022.

There were 15 teams of projects from different local universities participated in Project for Happiness 2021. UTM project team, explicitly “Theraplay,” which was formed in April 2021 last year, has embarked on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for the special needs community and engagement.

Theraplay team received an RM9,800 grant from MyStarfish Foundation and crowdfunding supports from faculty and the public.

Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia (ILAM) has collaborated with the Theraplay project for fund-raising support for autistic children (Special Children Home in Johor Bahru).

Theraplay project members are as below:

  1. Ho Jia Er (Group Leader)
  2. Celine Chiow Jia Yee
  3. Soh Huey Xuang
  4. Ho Hui Ching
  5. Cho Jun Kee
  6. Soon Suh Jing

The main goal of the Theraplay project is to create a conducive and well-equipped outdoor learning environment for special children to learn through playing in the therapeutic landscape environment.

Simultaneously, the key objectives of this community project are to raise public awareness and educate people on the role of the therapeutic landscape in healing the special needs community. 

Theraplay project was executed in six months and completed at the end of October 2021. The involvement of students in the Theraplay project built up and expending their teamwork, leadership, and soft skill. Students’ ability to manage and transfer knowledge skills from the landscape design process, costing, construction, and engagement with children and staff of special children’s homes.

The cycle of the project began from;

  1. Pitching project idea;
  2. Organised autism therapeutic Landscape webinar; 
  3. Crowdfunding campaigns;
  4. Site clearance and material purchasing;
  5. Project construction for sensory wall installation and planting activity. 

The challenge faced during the Theraplay project implementation was the lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic. Theraplay project’s accomplishment has provided an excellent opportunity for students to practice and experience what they have learned in landscape architecture.

Meantime, this project becomes a benchmark for students and their readiness in the real working world. Likewise, the most effective of transmitting 21st Century education strategies in teaching and learning is accountability to apply knowledge and develop creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

On the other hand, this project milestone embeds university students and the public’s importance of the therapeutic landscape for special needs communities.

In short, the team] plan to continue the Theraplay project 2.0 and manifest on another site and continuous corporate social responsibility (CSR) program in the future