Al-Yateem Islamic Relief update

Al Yateem Islamic Relief is a programme where one can choose to sponsor an orphan to get a bright future. Monthly cost vary by country and pledgers need to be willing to commit for at least 2 years.

I signed up as a sponsor in 2014 and was assigned a beautiful young girl as my benefactor. Her father had died leaving only the mum to raise her and other siblings.

It is now 2019 and I realized that I have been her sponsor for already 5 years! I am happy to learn from her annual progress report – that now she is old enough to go to school and most importantly has an ambition! She wants to become a doctor.

Her house now has gas and electric supply on top of having access to safe use of water. It wasn’t like that when I first received her biodata. I hope she would continue to do well in school and I look forward to see what she will become in many years to become. InsyaAllah.

Islamic Relief is one of the few charities I try to help in terms of funding depending on my budget. One other I contribute monthly is Mercy Malaysia. My budget for this comes from my elaun keraian of which its use is spread across other charitable purposes such as for tabung kematian, jamuan at work, presents for staff, sponsoring items, a learning course or providing money for activities or events. It can be anything as long as I deem it as a form of sedekah. I aspire to be like Uthman bin Affan even though I am not earning millions. Amin.

You don’t have to be too rich to give. Just practice giving with what you have.

I gave away books for free the other day and boy, it was a lesson learnt

Whenever I get disheartened of a humane act or good deed I do as part of Tabung Minci or for just being an NGI, I’d scroll through my previous blog posts to gather insight on why I do this in the first place.

Like this post.

I am still learning how to ‘Give Properly’. To give in abundance, in ikhlas, precious and hopefully of need and meaningful to the recipient.

Recently, I decided to do book gifting to my colleagues. It was Xmas season. I mean, who wouldn’t like a book to read right?Surely professionals would love a book. And is willing to try and take on a new genre. Right? Apparently not. I got them wrong. haih.. paiseh.

The books are handpicked from my own shelf. These are books that I love to read, only knowing myself – I wouldn’t read them the second time because of time constraint. I still have a lot on my TBR (to be read) list.

Anyway, all of these books are too shiny, glossy and pricey to be rounded up in a recycling bin. And to do a jumble sale is taking too long to organize. I could actually donate them to a public library but the titles felt so personal ( I honestly don’t know how to explain) that I thought why not share the joy of reading them with my friends.

For each person, I chose a book that I feel would suit their personality and once I gave it to them personally- that was when things got interesting and awkward to a certain extent.

Common questions I got was

  • Why are you giving this?
  • Is this a gift or are you lending it?

Heartwarming response

  • reading the synopsis and willing to try a new genre
  • saying a simple thank you and keeping the book in their personal bag
  • caught already reading the book and loving it so far
  • talking about the book and recommending titles that I may like (bonus)

Heartbreaking response (trying to be chill about it though)

  • without a single flip through the book asking is he/she could sell the book on shopee (I said the book was a gift – it is up to you to do as you please. There was a small thug in my heart as the book was a really good one. If I had known, I would have given it to someone else)
  • without reading the synopsis , kept it in the office drawer. We all know whatever goes inside the drawer, never makes its way out unless it is time for spring cleaning
  • an immediate skeptic response to an unknown form of literature. I have taken into good faith that a thriller could be enjoyed in any language you understand. I failed to understand then, that a non-English thriller may not emit the same excitement of an English thriller

Despite the shortcomings, I felt it was still fulfilling all the same. I am not looking for a book in exchange, or a thanks on Watsapp group (oh god.. please no). It was a small act of sharing joy and giving that’s all. I kept reminding myself that I should give unconditionally. Yes, hiccoughs happen but they are there for a reason. Keep giving. Never stop.

Only in the future, make it Focused, Meaningful & Beneficial.

A Srikandi (STF) Batch 2000 CSR project Pertubuhan Kebajikan Pusat Sri Mesra Ampang

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This old folks home was established first in 2013 at Taman Seri Gombak and later on moved to Ampang in 2015. There are 15 ladies here – all of them have never been married and have no close relatives to bring them home and take care of them. Most have no serious chronic illness. The centre focuses on being as independent as they can and providing public education towards caring for the elderly. The home also takes in 5 Warga Perlindungan (asnaf, single parents) who they train to care for the residents in the house. In return, they have a roof on their head and means to continue their daily lives especially if they have dependents under them.

The owner, Puan Faezah was previously a Palliative Care nurse who once worked with Hospice Malaysia. Armed with her experience, she not only wants to care for the elderly but also wishes to impart her knowledge to the public regarding the geriatric population. She looks forward to visits from individuals and groups to come see her home. She conducts talks on Communication Skills with The Elderly, End of life care, conducts family conference and many more. She herself, is hungry, to learn more, not only to update her already vast skills but also things like social media so she could get the word out more for her organization.

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For this short programme, we invited 3 masseuse to come by and give the residents a shoulder & foot rub, we had a short session to just get to know more about the home, and later a mini lunch to end our day. It was a short 3 hour affair.

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Take away points;

  1. With age, our 5 senses that we usually take for granted will slowly decline in function. Our eyes, ears, our speech , our cognitive function.. and this will certainly affect how we live and interact in our daily lives. So we try to be prepared for old age. 20190629_113216-014612573928237638829.jpeg
  2. We are all agents of change. Being an SK (Srikandi), the label should be a catalyst for us to not only make our lives and our families at their best but also serve the community in whatever capacity that you can.
  3. LOVE can be the magic potion in rehabilitation. Just like Wan. She came to the old folks home bed bound requiring a feeding tube. With time, she gained energy and Will, so much so that her Ryles tube managed to be removed and now she can sit up  and ambulate with her Zimmer frame independently.
  4. To care for someone, we need to get to know that person well for the most optimum care. Everyone has different needs. And we need to match these requirements with the correct knowledge and skills in handling them.
  5. Getting into a fight (even among the elderly) is inevitable. This friction can cause conflict in the home thus has to be addressed accordingly. Puan Faezah interestingly mentioned that these elderly ladies needs to be reminded from time to time, just like a kid, to be on their best behaviour when visitors come. Quarrels also occur simply because they have lost their hearing hence a communication breakdown.
  6. CHARITY – To help those in need, we need to start with ourselves. It is best to make sure that we are first ‘full’, happy and enough. And then, our close family is too enough. Meaning they have our attention, our love.. in other words, their basic needs to function as a family member is met. Only then, we are in a way Ready and Equipped to help those who are less fortunate.
  7. CHARITY work is evolving. It’s not just about receiving funds and giving basic care. Now, we are heading towards educating the public, empowering the less fortunate to be confident in themselves so they could communicate with everybody else.
  8. Not all elderly folks are SENILE. Some, has mental faculties which are still sharp. However, once their cognitive function deteriorates, they behave just like a baby.
  9. It’s not cheap to care for an elderly person. 
  10. Social Media is vital nowadays to spread the news. So more people could help them. The home wants us to share the message that [1] if your niyat is right, it doesn’t matter if the home has only 1 resident – you would still want to help. [2] Not all Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM) approved homes are financially stable, they still need a lot of support, especially funding when operating the place.

 

For this programme, I was in charge of the goodie bags. I have to admit, there were certain things in the bag which were inappropriate. At such an age, in Malaysia, it is less of wanting to sit down and read a book or magazine. For to them, in this home, it is more to fulfill the basic needs in life. Being able to just stay awake for a few hours before sleeping almost all the time. They just want to hold someones hand, or being cuddled, talk to someone, sing, bath independently, put on their clothes on their own, eat and rest comfortably.

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In the bag there is a pair of kaftan for sleeping, foot patch, hand cream, a roll-on perfume, a digital tasbih, some reading materials and a carton of drink. In retrospective, perhaps the ones that they could benefit most were the kaftan, foot patch and hand cream. The drinks, Puan Faezah said they will collect and share them during mealtimes as poor coordination could result in spills in the room which later attracts ants.

Now I know better.

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Over the years, ever since the home was established, 15 elderly ladies has passed away due to old age. Each death leaves a void in their heart. InsyaAllah, for all of them, a good ending and will earn a place in Jannah.

So, if you are in Ampang and you want to extend help, Pusat Jagaan Sri Mesra is there to welcome you with open arms.

Sulawesi. Funding via IMARET

Kerana kita bersaudara.

Some time ago, when we wanted to erect the Malaysian Field Hospital (MFH) in Cox Bazaar – it caused an uproar from misguided netizens who thinks that what we are doing goes along the line of ‘kera di hutan disusukan, anak di pangkuan mati kelaparan’. There are groups of vocal people unfortunately, who feel we should NOT extend International Help and take more care of our own.

Well folks. Today, SULAWESI needs our help. And as Malaysians, I think we should help our neighbours steadily and ease their burden.

I feel we should be able to do both. We should be able to help ourselves and also the international community as needed because we have neighbours. We are Muslims. And muslims are not selfish. Muslims take care of each other, even if they are non muslims.

Furthermore, we have individuals and organizations with different purposes to serve different groups of people ( be it in or out of the country) in the name of humanity. InsyaAllah no one would be left behind or unaccounted for. Because every life matters. Dalam Malaysia dan luar negara. But charity should start with you as well. Jgn banyak cakap. Just start.

If you have the skills, volunteer.

If you have the knowledge, volunteer.

Just give what you can. Raising funds and spreading awareness is the least that one can do. And make du’a to Allah The Most Knowingly and Benevolent and Merciful.

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Sometimes a disaster that happens to another person/country, is actually a test from us to ALLah. He wants to see whether we can unite as a nation and help another who needs them. He wants to see whether we can utilize the nikmat He has bestowed upon us towards a cause that could benefit others. He wants to see us being the best version of a human being that walks on His earth.

InsyaAllah. 

Ponderings on becoming an NGI

I scrolled my FB feed today and digested the usual ‘news’. Of syok sendiri viral issues, local crimes, nonsense politics, recipes that I can’t seem to find time to make and sales post and recruitment which is supposed to get you out of poverty or debt.

Then there was this little post by one of my favourite NGI’s; Syed Azmi. He was kind of ‘coaching’ a young NGI (Non Governmental Individual) wannabe, Imran, by asking a few basic questions that, in my opinion could help guide someone to the desired charitable purpose.

Some of the questions were;

  1. What is your skill?

  2. What is your passion?

  3. When is your free time you can volunteer?

  4. Do you drive?

  5. What is your strength/weakness? Your limitation?

I was stuck at No 3. I couldn’t really use my profession as my excuse because personally I do not think that it’s a formidable excuse. Like come on lah Minci… if you really want to do something – you would make time for it. Sampai bila nak harap pada pahala pasif kan? Which sadly seems to be the most popular thing nowadays. For instance, if someone wants to sell their product, it almost often ends with ‘share this post, you could get pahala for simply sharing” just how we love passive income? errr.. guilty as charged here. 

Hence I learnt something about this process. That we should give what we can with the capacity that we have. I may not have time (yet) to devote for my cause. But InsyaAllah, that intense push will come. yelah.. can you just imagine my husbands reaction? Dahlah already busy with oncall and on your free weekend you want to run for Africa? Not to mention those occasional but important days where you had to stay back at work because you had to?  Contoh je.. I just don’t want the topic of ‘anak kera di hutan disusukan‘ to rise in our daily couple conversation. Kah kah kah.  Until then, just do what you can. 

A kind word. A motivating speech/blog post/watsapp message.

A  mini donation/contribution here and there.

The ultimate act of charity is still about Time. I will get there.