Love is all around

A char­ity pro­gramme that as­sists un­der­priv­i­leged fam­i­lies proves to be a re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for volunteers.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Living - By YUEN JH star2@thes­tar.com.my Volunteers do­ing their part for the en­vi­ron­ment.

ARMED with a shop­ping trol­ley cart and a gro­cery check list on hand, Iris See strolls through the aisle, pay­ing close at­ten­tion to var­i­ous goods that are stacked on shelves. She is flip­ping through pages of a dis­count cat­a­logue to com­pare prices in order to hunt for the best deals.

With a trusty smart­phone on hand, she is punch­ing num­bers to cal­cu­late the amount of goods that has been taken and the bud­get that is avail­able, be­fore de­cid­ing on items to be placed in the trol­ley cart. The pur­chased gro­ceries are meant as monthly sup­port to be de­liv­ered to an un­der­priv­i­leged fam­ily un­der her care.

Else­where, a group of pa­tients un­der­go­ing haemodial­y­sis treat­ment re­ceives a wel­com­ing visit from Coey and Fion Lim. The two car­ing volunteers lend a lis­ten­ing ear and chat with the pa­tients to keep them ac­com­pa­nied.

The pa­tients have to go through dif­fi­cult phys­i­cal and fi­nan­cial chal­lenges, as go­ing for treat­ments means spend­ing three times a week be­ing hooked up to a ma­chine and the treat­ment costs can go up to RM3,500 ev­ery month. There­fore, the pa­tients need all the help and sup­port they can get.

See, Coey and Fion are part of a small group of volunteers help­ing out with Great Heart Char­ity As­so­ci­a­tion’s Hand-in-Hand Char­ity Pro­gram. It aims to as­sist un­der­priv­i­leged fam­i­lies that rarely re­ceive at­ten­tion from the me­dia. Funds and re­sources are al­lo­cated to these fam­i­lies to mit­i­gate some of their bur­den. Volunteers are as­signed to pro­vide care to un­der­priv­i­leged fam­i­lies on a monthly ba­sis.

Formed in 2010, Great Heart Char­ity As­so­ci­a­tion (GHCA) is a tax-ex­empted, non-profit char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion in Malaysia. Its mis­sion is to make char­i­ta­ble giv­ing a part of ev­ery­one’s life by act­ing as a plat­form to volunteers and con­trib­u­tors with the un­der­priv­i­leged. They aim to pro­vide mean­ing­ful as­sis­tance to peo­ple who face dif­fi­cul­ties in their life through var­i­ous on­go­ing projects. It be­lieves that although one may not be able to change the world, he or she may be able to help peo­ple sub­stan­tially on an in­di­vid­ual or com­mu­nity level.

Ev­ery­one goes through ups and downs in life, just as the day tran­si­tions to night. The process is im­por­tant as all good and bad serves a con­struc­tive pur­pose, as with changes comes growth, and growth tran­si­tions through joy and pain.

“In our quest to in­spire more peo­ple to get in­volved in char­i­ties while cre­at­ing a car­ing so­ci­ety, we strive to make char­i­ta­ble giv­ing a part of ev­ery­one’s life, es­pe­cially the younger gen­er­a­tion so that they in turn would light up the lives of oth­ers. We reckon that as long as there are be­liev­ers, op­por­tu­nity for mir­a­cles ex­ist,” com­mented Franky See Swee Choy, the pres­i­dent and founder of the as­so­ci­a­tion, who started the no­ble quest af­ter over­com­ing hard­ships in life.

Mean­while, a group of stu­dents ar­ranged a fun car­ni­val at their univer­sity. They in­vited a group of chil­dren from an or­phan­age to ex­pe­ri­ence cam­pus life and en­joy the univer­sity fa­cil­i­ties.

The stu­dents played foot­ball with the chil­dren, who were also treated to food cooked by the stu­dents, be­fore be­ing brought to the univer­sity’s theatre to watch a movie. This ac­tiv­ity was made pos­si­ble via GHCA’s You & Me Ed­u­ca­tional Pro­gram, which em­pha­sises that char­ity is a form of ed­u­ca­tion. Through this pro­gramme, talks are pro­vided to stu­dents at sec­ondary schools, col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties with the aim to en­cour­age stu­dent groups to or­gan­ise their own char­ity projects.

Ac­cord­ing to See, 60 un­der­priv­i­leged in­di­vid­u­als drop by their cen­tre ev­ery Tues­day, Thurs­day and Satur­day to re­ceive packed food (via the Lunch Box for the Hun­gry project). Vol­un­teer doc­tors help out ev­ery Wed­nes­day by at­tend­ing to the elderly who drop by for free med­i­cal check-ups.

“Chil­dren are given free lan­guage classes ev­ery Satur­day, while a com­mu­nity veg­etable gar­den has been set up to en­cour­age volunteers to grow their own crops, to be har­vested and dis­trib­uted to the com­mu­nity,” added See.

As char­i­ta­ble giv­ing also cov­ers aware­ness on car­ing for our planet, the as­so­ci­a­tion launched the Earth War­riors Project in 2014, as they be­lieve that ev­ery­one has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.

To be able to in­spire over 4,000 par­tic­i­pants to work to­gether in clean­ing up the en­vi­ron­ment is no mean feat and the as­so­ci­a­tion man­aged to achieve that in Jen­jarom, Klang, Subang Jaya and Shah Alam. The project serves as a re­minder for peo­ple not to dis­pose garbage ir­re­spon­si­bly.

Although run­ning a char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion in­volves a lot of time and ef­fort, See feels that all the hard work pays off in ex­change for a ful­fill­ing life ex­pe­ri­ence.

This was echoed by his team of volunteers who work with him in his jour­ney to spread love. It is no won­der that the slo­gan of the as­so­ci­a­tion is “Care in hand, love in heart”. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit Great Heart Char­ity As­so­ci­a­tion’s Face­book page or email at info@ great­heartchar­ity.org.my. ‘In our quest to in­spire more peo­ple to get in­volved in char­i­ties while cre­at­ing a car­ing so­ci­ety, we strive to make char­i­ta­ble giv­ing a part of ev­ery­one’s life,’ said See, who is help­ing out to clean up the streets. — Pho­tos: Great Heart Char­ity As­so­ci­a­tion

A group of univer­sity stu­dents in­vited chil­dren from an or­phan­age to ex­pe­ri­ence cam­pus life and en­joy the univer­sity fa­cil­i­ties.

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