IIUM’s Contribution to Raudhatus Sakinah

By Mohd Abbas Abdul Razak and Abdulwahed Jalal Nori

As Malaysia is rapidly developing alongside its neighbouring countries, urbanization has brought a large number of people from the country to the cities. Kuala Lumpur with its ample job opportunities has attracted the biggest number of local and foreign labour force. As part of the labour force, most parents (husband and wife) who are working away from home are not able to give adequate time for parenting. Teenagers of parents who work many hours to make ends meet are left unmonitored on their own. There is a great possibility for such teenagers to be lured into anti-social activities. Besides being on their own managing life and making decisions for themselves, the wrong usage of smartphones and social media also in a way contribute to the deviant behaviour of these youngsters. 

Raudhatus Sakinah’s Social Contribution

When parents come to know the deviant lifestyle of their teenagers, they will seek help from government bodies and other NGOs. In Kuala Lumpur like any other major city in the world, many organizations render food, clothing, money, shelter and counselling for those who need help. Among the many NGOs, Raudhatus Sakinah (RS) is one of them. As an NGO, Raudhatus Sakinah was established in 1998 to help girls who are deviant, wayward and who are lured into anti-social activities. The pioneers of Raudhatus Sakinah are driven by the zeal not only to provide food and education but more than that they want to guide girls who are vulnerable to the right path in life, so that, they can be reabsorbed into society.  

In no way, Raudhatus Sakinah’s role should be equated to a correctional centre. As a refuge for vulnerable young girls, Raudhatus Sakinah provides shelter, food and education for those who are enrolled there. Those who enter RS have to spend a two-year rehab program before they return to normal life with their loved ones at home and later become active members of society.   

As a therapy centre for their body, mind and soul, RS with its comprehensive curriculum provides education to cater for the girls’ spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical, social and psychological needs. Raudhatus Sakinah with its administrative office situated near Batu Caves and a therapy centre at Selangor, over the years, has been successful in providing guidance and therapy to many teenage girls. Many of those who have gone through a soul-healing therapeutic session are now doing well in the broader world outside RS. The CEO of RS, Puan Rosmawati Zainal (popularly known as Ummi Rose) proudly informs that many of the former inmates from her centre now hold diplomas and degrees from institutes of higher learning.  

As a centre that provides guidance, counselling and therapy for the soul, RS is put under the purview of the Malaysian Social Welfare Department. For the day-to-day expenses of running the centre and the salary for her counsellors and other supporting staff, Puan Rosmawati gets some financial assistance from corporate organisations, and donations given by the general public and parents of the inmates.    

As the latest development, the RS Guidance Center at Selangor now has a new block annexed to its existing building. The new block houses a large kitchen and bakery. Through the initiative made by Ummi Rose, TAKAFUL Malaysia came forward to sponsor the building of the new block. Besides following the government syllabus and educational activities required by the Ministry of Education, the inmates are given lessons on the Qur’an, Aqidah, Akhlak and Sirah, plus some lessons on culinary skills. Apart from preparing food and pastries for their daily consumption, some of the items are put on sale to generate income for the daily expenses of running RS.   

Academics of IIUM

The International Islamic University Malaysia which was established in 1983, provides a holistic education that caters for the human soul, mind and body. Academics not only lecturers, carry out research works within the university but also get involved in field research and community engagement.   

In realising there is a need for academics to chip in to solve social ills in society, in recent times, many members of AHAS Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences have volunteered to join community service organised by Sejahtera Centre for Sustainability and Humanity and community engagement programs organised by the Kulliyyah. 

The philosophy behind such programs organized by IIUM is to guide the young and upcoming generation in Malaysia to contribute positively to the well-being of the country and to make the country great as one of the progressing nations in the region. 

IIUM’s Contribution to Raudhatus Sakinah

Early IIUM lecturers’ affiliation with RS goes back to 2018. The close cooperation between RS and IIUM was initiated through a research project entitled “Delineating a Framework for Child Abuse in Malaysia: A Holistic Interactionistic Approach” conducted by Dr Abdulwahed Jalal Nori, Dr Iyad Muhammad Eid, Prof. Dr. Najibah Mohd Zain and Prof. Dr. Wahabuddin Raees.   Later Dr Salah Machouche and Dr Mohd Abbas Abdul Razak volunteered to help Puan Rose and her team at RS. In the year 2023, a second research project was initiated by Dr Salah Machouche, Dr Mohd Abbas and Dr Abdulwahed. This project was entitled, ‘Fostering Creativity Among the Vulnerable Groups: How to Solve Daily Life Problems with Simple Yet Effective Thinking Tools’. This one-year project successfully ended on the 9th of Feb 2024.

Among the activities conducted during the second project include things like exploring the topic of creativity and its application in the inmates’ day-to-day lives, how to present oral and written book reviews, expressing emotions through creative artworks and the application of creativity through culinary skills. 

Besides their research work at RS, lecturers from IIUM have taken the opportunity to give motivational talks, counselling, and teach English and some culinary skills. As an expert in creative thinking and problem-solving, Dr Salah has taught the inmates how to use creativity as a therapy for their troubled psyche. In addition to that, he gave lectures face-to-face and online on Islam. There are times when Dr Abduwahed and Dr Salah shared some of their Middle Eastern culinary skills on how to prepare some Arab delicacies and cuisines. Ideas shared by the two lecturers will be experimented with by Puan Rose and the inmates in the kitchen at RS Selangor Guidance Centre. 

Apart from giving motivational talks to the inmates, a train-the-trainer session was also conducted by Dr Abduwahed and Dr Abbas. Both lecturers shared their knowledge of human nature and counselling tips. This session was a successful one as the participants were pleased to learn many new tips on how to handle moody and non-cooperative inmates. 

Response from the Inmates of RS 

All the contributions made by IIUM lecturers to RS have yielded positive results. Noble attributes like passion, compassion, empathy and sympathy shown to the inmates during lectures and other activities have created a change in the inmates. During each visit, we were able to witness the increase of confidence in the inmates to face life once they finish their stay at RS.    

Overall Success of Our Activities at RS

As researchers and volunteers at RS, we taught all the inmates how creativity can be employed in writing, oral book reviews, artwork, household decoration, culinary skills, etc. Learning and psychotherapy can be more productive and interesting when creativity is employed. On the whole, our research work at RS was a success. 

On the 9th of Feb. 2024, our project came to a successful completion at RS. During the closing ceremony and later through a letter, Puan Rose expressed her feeling of gratitude for the contribution made by the lecturers of AHAS KIRKHS to improve the quality of life at RS. We on our part also promised to help RS as volunteers whenever there is a need and urgency to render our expertise to RS. Puan Rose on her part humbly requested that more joint venture projects from IIUM to be conducted at RS. ***

(The writers are Dr. Mohd. Abbas Abdul Razak and Abdulwahed Jalal Nori who are Assistant Professors in the Department of Fundamental & Inter-Disciplinary Studies, AHAS KIRKHS.)