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.

Event cancellation – my response

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I had an event which was supposed to happen on the 14th of September 2019. It is organized by my school batch alumni (Batch 2000).  Unfortunately, it had to be cancelled which was something I did not expect. I thought the worst that could happen was for people not to show up after they register. A late start mayeb. Or that I would mess up with the event/booth booking or something. Perhaps I was too naive to think that,

aktiviti persatuan.. takkanlah boleh cancel…’

‘surely by hook or by crook, the event will still have to be up and running’

It took a while to kickstart the planning for the project.

Hence, I took the onus of searching for an event space outside Melaka because most of my batch mates live near the area of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. As someone who is not well versed to the area in these states, most of my research is thus online. But since no one wanted to do it, I thought I’d volunteer even though it was a bit difficult on my part when it comes to scouting the area and such.

I was then on a series of communication frenzy on whatsapp and email with many different people outside of the medical field. I was learning many new things – procedures, figures of speech and interesting terms related to these events. It’s a mix of party, soul searching and networking. I was on an adrenaline high and super excited to make things work despite minimal evident support from most fellow members of the group. I confided in myself saying that “.. they are busy, they will make their contribution later”

In less than a week, I managed to secure an event space and a prominent speaker. An instafamous speaker who does Quran tagging and such. Everything was presented to the Top Committee and since no negative feedback was received, I thought everything was going very well and wanted to give an extra token of friendship for my friends who will be attending the event. I hunted for items suitable as door gifts with a reasonable price tag. I feel it would serve as a good form of sedekah as well.

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I also decided to go a bit extra in terms of decorating the place and setting the mood hence bought miscellaneous decor items and fragrance sachets from Kaison. I was that excited.

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The time finally came to start promoting the event. We were not pulling the crowd that we hoped for and everyone was worried. Perhaps it was the long holidays but it was already the final weekend of the consecutive 3. Surely, you would want to just stay in KL, right?

But we were wrong and suddenly all the previously dormant members of the group woke up and begin asking questions and making changes to the plan. Suddenly everyone has a suggestion and a quotation of some sort. Was I frustated? DEFINITELY. Bitter? Unfortunately, like any other human being, I was. In fact, on the verge of being pissed off for not recognizing the warning signs of this possibility to occur. Some of these red flags include;

  • less than 50% of support within the same cluster of people. If you have 10 people in the group and only 3 people are committed and on board, you might want to reconsider your project. It will be a waste of time.
  • the top committee are not checking with you from time to time regarding the project. This of course can be a two prong interpretation of such action. It’s either they have full trust in you and your team or simply not paying attention
  • members of the top committee not planning to attend the event or substitute with someone of the same management hierarchy. For instance, if the president cannot attend – the vice president should fill in the shoes. If not, the secretary. What should not happen is the head of a biro who leads the programme and also fills in the shoes as the VIP. That my friends, is a syok sendiri programme.
  • More than 2 person in the group starts assuming multiple roles in the programme. For instance, a runner is also the MC, the usher and manning the registration.

The above is of course just my mere observation. So once the event got cancelled, I had two options on how to respond;

  1. Remain bitter and just refuse to participate in any form of fundraising activities until the big reunion is over.
  2. Conduct a self postmortem, reflect on the situation and learn from it. Hopefully not repeating the mistakes in the future.

I chose the latter choice but it undeniably took me quite a while to work out my emotions. I felt betrayed. Angry. However since I have a lot of responsibilities and projects to shoulder in September, I must move on so that I could concentrate on those tasks.

MY COPING STRATEGIES

  • I distanced myself from social media for a while – just so I won’t vent on bitch mode. Now that I’m calmer, I could blog about it in a hopefully more sensible mode. Did you guys think I manage the wrath well or I can do better? ha ha
  • Writing in my HoboMinci feels good and that was exactly what I did 20190817_204343-017306390315441347442.jpeg
  • I utilized my doterra oils by diffusing calming blends and apply it topically. 20190617_220207-015448911350119519874.jpeg
  • I also bluntly expressed my frustration to those who were concerned, just so they know I have feelings and hopefully would not take my (future) efforts for granted.
  • I made dua to Allah that He would protect me from ill feelings and thoughts. I feel religion in a way helps me to nurture Sabar and accept Qada’ and Qadar. I like to believe that whatever He decides to take away, He will replace with something better and whatever that is happening now is the best for me. InsyaAllah.. 

As for the gifts I intended to give my friends, I will keep hold of them. I am sure Allah has plans for them. Perhaps to give to those more deserving. I don’t know. InsyaAllah. 

My mothers genes have Generosity encoded in them and because of that Tabung Minci was created

I made a day trip to my moms home last weekend. It was a 2 hour drive from my place and I was anxious with the thought of bringing my kids along. I prayed that they will behave and that Ninie especially would not poop in the car. Alhamdulilah, the journey went fine.The pu rpose of the trip was to send my mom n my sister’s stuff.

In return, amusingly, I got stuff too. Which was way more than what I have brought with me initally. I ended up huggling back to Melaka a set of Tefal cookware, baking items, clothes, a book and food. The ever most important deer meat ! My mom will not let the matter rest until I taste the venison.

Mum also updated me about her social activities – her marhaban group. She said their annual dinner is coming soon and that they will be an election for the committee.


You know being a leader, you still need someone with money. At least, that is how it is in my group, it keeps the group going. Self funding helps to oil those little bits in the operation for it to run smoothly, she says

She narrated how sometimes she would have to pay things forward first, lend money to those in need and paid back without interest, get gifts to boost motivation but still she felt great to be able to do that. To her, these deeds are a form of sedekah. To her, Allah has placed her in a position where she is able to lend a helping hand in ways that she is capable of. And if her role comes in the form of giving financial aid, then why not? 

I have always known her to be really wise with money. Thrifty but generous at the same time. I learnt from her that as moms – we should think about our children’s finances. She would keep part of her money in our savings account and this went on until I finally got into college. Because of that, I am doing the same for my Syazmins. I would keep aside as many RM20 notes as I can to be kept in their accounts.

As of my mom being generous, paying for a friends meal, hosting a party or getting gift for people that she loves dearly just comes by naturally. She would buy things from friends if she knows that her friends could make a living out of it. She is that supportive. And that gesture is slowly becoming second nature to myself as well. I mean, I try. And it does make you feel good about yourself when you do things For Yourself and not expecting people to return the favor. Making someone else happy makes you happy. Most of the time. And every good things does not have to come in the form of giving money. 

Despite that I still make my own charity fund which I call Tabung Minci. Inspired by my moms generosity for sure. This is where my monthly elaun keraian goes too. From here, I make scheduled monthly donations to Al-Yateem Islamic Relief Programme and Mercy Malaysia. The remaining funds I would use for the occasional public donation drives, to sponsor activities related to clinic or personal causes, individual sedekahs etc.  

I took time off recently to sort out my burned out life. I also decided it is a good time to keep my Tabung Minci engines running. I am preparing care packages for kids & babies that come to my Klinik Desa. I sent out Parcel Kasih Sayang (kinda like a Raya goodie box) to my Wanita Besi Eropah  (WBE) girls too few days ago. On top of that, I made Eid cookies for my friends at work. I made the usual Cornflakes with Dates & another variation is Rose Honey Cornflakes. I bought the Rose Honey from Ninso. 

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It’s just a simple gesture to acknowledge how much I care about them too. These, I feel is my form of good deed and sedekah too. I just hope Allah accepts all of them and grant me Pahala and Jannah.  This small act would not have been possible without the support of my husband and blessings from my mom. I fund her activities monthly (read: elaun belanja .. ha ha ha). I hope to also reap the benefits from her good deeds too. InsyaAllah.

Feel free to read about my Tabung Minci ventures by searching hashtags : TabungMinci & Sedekah/ Sedeqah. I even dedicated a page for Tabung Minci for my own record. 2019 has yet to be updated but we are threading the year slowly. 

 

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The Sedekah Scene in NUR drama (TV3). My thoughts.

The Malay drama series, NUR was a big hit when it came out as it brings on very powerful messages. Concerning religion, relationship between human beings and good deeds.

Image result for drama nur sedekah mak nur

Towards the end of this short series, there was a scene of Nur’s mother, a senior prostitute crying in the streets as she was chased out of her own home by her greedy pimp. She was looking for Nur, her daughter, also a prostitute, saved from the ‘lorong’ by a young ustaz. Nur’s mother was alone, cold and hungry. Her presence was almost non-existent to the passersby despite the various ruckus she got into along the way. After searching for her daughter aimlessly in the big streets of the city, she finally caved in to her exhaustion and lay down motionless on the brick ground.

A man came from nowhere and saw her. He must have felt sorry for her and decided to give her a form of sedekah. He handed her money and walked away. She accepted the note. It was the only monetary sedekah she received for that day. She was grateful and tucked it safely in her blouse and lied back down in hunger.

.

.

The sedekah she got was RM1. What decent meal or room or just a blanket can she ever get with RM1?

And that’s when I got a very powerful message of SEDEKAH. 

We are always told to give with IKHLAS. Meaning you do not have to give a lot, but just as much that you can out of sincerity. Hence, it tends to make you feel good when you feel that the RM 1 you gave, was out of ikhlas and that deed is redeemable for a pahala. Because you are ikhlas.

But we are never taught nor emphasized that the Sedekah we give should be Beneficial. Useful. Have worth. It is time we should start learning what form of Sedekah is proper for certain groups of people. This is because we want our gifts to be of use and the less fortunate could benefit from it.

Giving RM1 would be useful if you are raising funds to build a school or madrasah. But it would be of no value if you were to give it to the beggars in Africa for example. Donating a ripple mattress to a poor family whose family member has a stroke sounds good and helpful but if they are not financially apt – it will just be another mattress because they cannot afford to pay the electricity bills. Supplying a pre-packed grocery box consisting mini bag of rice, vermicelli, sauces, onions, sugar etc..  is commendable but if the family does not know how to prepare a simple meal – the purpose is defeated.

See?

Every problem has a customized solution. While there can be a temporary blanket measure, the root of the problem has to be investigated and solved accordingly. Until then, whenever you wish to sedekah, take a minute to just ask yourself if the receiving end would benefit from it.If it does, GIVE. InsyaAllah, your deeds will be rewarded.