By Nur Hakimah Sakeenah Binti Mohd Zaini, Nur Fatihah Syahail & Dr. Shamshina Mohamad Hanifa
We have had enough conversations on ‘learning lessons beyond lecture halls’ and it is not surprising if the concept of integration is tattooed on everyone’s soul. We have grasped the idea that students need to step out from the university and mingle with communities to understand the needs of society and to resolve social issues. Claiming to be a holistic student is not enough, we need to practise integration better.
Interestingly, such a notion is not merely a theoretical framework anymore, but it has been manifested into reality and thanks to Usrah in Action as the brainchild and Mahallah Sumayyah as the leading Mahallah for sisters that upholds its ‘Resolute-Smart-Beautiful’; a massive and parent project known as ‘A Sip of Brewed Coffee in the Midnight’ executed by Mahallah Sumayyah in collaboration with Mahallah Uthman and Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak-Anak Basri. The project is focused on the idea of integration in the form of multiple programs under the umbrella name ‘A Sip of Brewed Coffee in the Midnight’.
The umbrella name is a figurative name where students and the concept of integration is viewed as a sip of brewed coffee, that is needed at midnight in which midnight here refers to a hard life. In short, students should be ready to be a cup of coffee because a sip of them could warm up the community at midnight. Students, apart from the authorities, should be thought of during social work activities.
The first program under ‘A Sip of Brewed Coffee in the Midnight’ is Lazizah – a mass cooking event that benefited the IIUM community, not confined to students alone, and reached more than 400 receivers. Secondly, we decided that the foreign community should never be left behind, if the idea of integration was truly to be practiced. Hence, a series of workshops on how to read the Qur’an or Iqra’, known as ‘Workshop: Iqra the First Word’ was executed every week from April 8th until June 17th 2022. The audience consisted of students from Rohingya Education Centre, mostly aged 7 and the committees composed of MRC and BRC of Mahallah Sumayyah and Mahallah Uthman. The third program carried out at Masjid Al-Khairiyah, Sri Gombak was called ‘Food Basket Distribution to B40 Families’ where a 100 needy recipients from B40 families received assistance in the form of goods.
Thus, the article aims at highlighting the importance of having access to the execution of ‘integration’ and stepping out of one’s comfort zone. The concept of Sejahtera, SDG etc. are well-embedded at the back of students’ minds but what about the access to executing it?
Students indubitably have the motivation and knowledge on the significance and sustainability of such a notion. But what about the access to execute such ideas in the long run? How about the students who do not have Usrah in Action or anything similar to it in their course plan and do not participate in any society that is volunteerism-based? Should the students come up with their own alternatives but in the capacity as respected university students?
We look forward to active participation and involvement from more organisations or institutions and we believe everyone has done their best to produce holistic graduates and we applaud such ideas. Room for improvement in our opinion would be on the coherence of the implementation and its sustainability given possible restrictions such as financial limitations and the lack of willingness from students.***