By Muhammad Asri Ismail
GOMBAK, 24 APRIL 2015: A group of 47 volunteers from UMission Club, IIUM went out together on 23 April night on a ‘mission’ as part of the first ‘Homeless Project’ to distribute meals and clothes to the homeless and the needy in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
The distributions were conducted specifically in the vicinity of Pasar Seni, which is located on Jalan Hang Kasturi, a few minutes away from Petaling Street. Generally, the area offers few secluded spots for the homeless to sleep such as dark shop doorways, bus stop and hard benches.
This programme focused on making the difference in the community by getting involved through volunteering and educating people on the facts of homeless and unprivileged individuals in our community. Apart from distributing donation items, the volunteers also offered haircut service to the homeless men.
A total of RM2620 in cash was collected for the hygiene kit parcel donation. Each hygiene kit parcel was worth RM20, consisting of blanket, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and laundry detergent. The amount together with funds from UMission Club were used to purchase food and drinks (nasi lemak and mineral water) for about 200 people.
The distribution hour began after 11 p.m. to ensure that the homeless were back in their hideout or resting spot. The first location for the distribution was the park next to Kota Raya at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock.
After a briefing to the volunteers to ensure the distribution goes without hitch, the volunteers formed two teams. Each team consisting of about 23 persons, loaded with donation items before walking off to their designated locations.
One of the homeless who wanted to be known as Kris, 52, said he was very thankful because he had a good meal and a good chat with the volunteers. He also praised all charity workers as there are still good people out there who care about homeless population and he thanked them.
Each volunteer shared their precious experiences after the distribution was completed. “I learned that what Homeless Project does is more than just help to ease the ache of their empty stomach, but it created links and hope for students and the community. The experience was indeed an eye-opener for us as it gave a glimpse into the daily hardships endured by the poor who seek fortunes in a big city like Kuala Lumpur,” Nur Syafiqah, 22, said.
Hosting the programme was such a major accomplishment. Despite this being a first time for most of the volunteers, everyone worked together and cooperated with dedication.
The Programme Manager, Abdullah Mohd said, “It is good that we all get to contribute, no matter how small, to the community because we do it for the sake of Allah (SWT). Even the simplest acts gain in value on account of the purely good intentions behind them.” ***