THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Friday, 23 August 2013

Family Day coming soon

Another week or so to go to our annual Family Day. This year it’s held a bit later than usual because of the fasting month in July/August.

The best Family Day attendance we had before this was in 2010 when the venue was in Lost World of Tambun. That year, 97 people (including volunteers) confirmed their attendance and 94 actually turned up. That’s very close to 100%. Usually for our Family Day, only between 70 – 80 % of those who had confirmed their attendance would actually turn up.

This year, once again we’re organising our Family Day at Lost World of Tambun. The kids love it there. So far we have 120 people confirming their attendance including 14 volunteers. And among the 106 clients/family members joining, more than 50 of them are my clients. Even if only 80% turns up, it will still be a record-breaking attendance.

Yep, lots of calls made, lots of text messages sent out. Lots of arrangements to be made. Who will be going to LWOT on their own. Who will need to be fetched at home. Who will need to be fetched at the bus station. Who to fetch them. What time to fetch them.

Even some who have their own transport requested that I wait for them somewhere so they could follow my car to Lost World. Ah well, I wouldn’t want them to get lost before reaching Lost World, would I?

I definitely need other volunteers to help me out as I can’t be at too many places at the same time to fetch all my clients. I have 4 volunteers to help me out with my clients. Hopefully, that’s enough.

As for toys to be given out to the families, this year I collected more than enough toys from my friends. Some used toys, some new toys, but all lovely lovely toys which I’m sure the kids will love! Thanks to all my generous friends (and their kids who let go of their pre-loved toys!).

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The basic things in life…

My late mother had always been the type who stressed on the importance of education. While she herself only had the opportunity to go to school up to primary level, she made sure her children were not deprived of higher level education. In her case, too bad she never had the opportunity to go any further, not because she didn’t want to, but because the mentality then was that “girls would end up in the kitchen anyway”. And she, being the eldest, had to give in to her younger siblings.

I thought my mother simply wasn’t lucky enough. All her younger siblings studied up to secondary level at least (2 went on to degree level) and eventually went on to become officers, teachers and clerks at the very least, while my mother got married when she was 17 and became a full time housewife.

But during my recent clinic duty, I met a 45 year old lady who could neither read nor write. Not because she was stupid, but because she never went to school. Not at all. I didn’t even bother to give her our brochure when I met her. There was no point. She wouldn’t have been able to read it.

Ah, but she could get someone else to read it for her, no? Well yes, if only she had someone who could read it for her. You see, this lady, despite having 5 siblings, no longer goes back to her family. The last time she did that, according to her they just reacted as though she wasn’t there, making her feel so left out. When I asked her what could be the reason, she said because they were all successful people while she couldn’t even read simple things. Well, at least, that’s her side of the story. I wouldn’t know her family’s version.

She now works as a cleaner with a pay of RM600/month, renting a room for RM120/month. She walks to work, and when she needs to go to the hospital for her appointments, she walks to the hospital. No family to go back to. It’s just her and herself.

Such a lonely life.

Wow! And I thought my late mother was unlucky? At least she still went to primary school, she could read and write. Hey, even my late grandma could read and write (even though she only started learning how to read and write much later in her life when the “kelas dewasa” was offered in my kampong).

And hey, both my mother and grandmother stayed with their own family.

Moral of the story? No matter how deprived we think we are of certain things in our lives, bear in mind, there are people out there who are worse off than us, who never had the opportunity to experience even the basic things we often take for granted.

So yes, be thankful for all the things we have, and for all the things we don’t have.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

This year’s Ramadhan/Raya Contributions

Like previous years, every time Ramadhan approaches, quite a number of my friends (including some online friends whom I have never personally met before) would transfer some money into my bank account, to be distributed to the needy families I deal with in my voluntary work.

This year I got close to RM8,000 within a month to be distributed. I decided to distribute some of the amount during early Ramadhan, and then later on nearing Raya I distributed the balances collected.

With so many clients, some staying quite far from Ipoh, I knew I wouldn’t have the time to visit every single client. So I only visited a few, while the rest, I transferred the financial assistance direct into their bank account.

I did visit Imran & family, because I ordered putu kacang from his wife. Imran wasn’t home when I went to visit, but his wife was. Last year the wife concentrated more on making and selling Raya cookies during Ramadhan. This year however, she seemed to concentrate more on sewing clothes. It was good to see that the family is trying their very best to be independent.

I also went to visit Jamilah who broke her wrist in a motor accident about 2 months ago. After undergoing an operation on her wrist, she is still not fully recovered. And with her main source of income being the food stall which she operates alone, having a broken wrist meant no business for her for the time being. For the past 2 months she had been relying totally on welfare aid. Jamilah plans to reopen her food stall after Raya, although her wrist is still not fully healed.

I went to visit Zainab, who seemed to be doing a whole lot better now than the last time I went to visit. Her children too seemed to be doing well, including kakak, the older daughter who has kidney problems.

Immediately after visiting Zainab, I went to visit Aini. They both stay in Ipoh and so there was no problem visiting them both on the same day. Aini seemed to be doing okay. It feels good seeing these families living a much improved life.

As for the rest of the families, I am lucky to have saved their bank account numbers. So all I had to do was to just sit in front of my computer and transfer the money online into their accounts, before informing them about it.

All in all, more than 20 families became recipients of the donations. Some received more, some received less. No, not that I favour some more than others. How much they got depended on their situation. Those with more children, received more of course. And in the case of Jamilah (the one who was involved in the motor accident), she too received more than the rest, as temporary help until she can get back on her own feet.

I’m done with this year’s Raya contribution. My next house visit will probably be after I complete my puasa 6.