A few friends of mine run a small help-out activity just before Raya. They do it in an informal, hush-hush way, and in the simplest of forms: visiting the poor and less fortunate and providing them with daily staples and cash assistance so that they can celebrate Raya with adequate food and peace of mind.
The donations are not necessarily those of the project members. The project members also accept contributions on behalf of other people who wish to remain anonymous and represent these donors to hand over the gifts to the poor.
Last year my friends helped out the poor families in Kg Lukut, Kota Tinggi. This year they visited a family in Gelang Patah. I was told the family is not only poor but has a handicapped child. I followed En. Khairulazam Mohamed, who led the project to help out this Gelang Patah family.
The family lives in a humble shack near the banks of Sungai Pendas, opposite an old charcoal kiln. One of the children used to be a student of SK Tg Adang, where En Khairulazam's wife teaches. He has now finished school and works in a factory nearby. We soon discovered that the family had more than one handicapped child, and the mother is also physically impaired.
When we arrived, only four of the children were at home. The mother was sitting on the lean-to, peeling onions, a part of her daily source of income.
We didn't stay long for fear of imposing on the family. I also didn't take many photos because I was afraid it would offend them. I took the pictures of their only daughter on the pretext of taking a shot of their lovely black cat. The little girl hid behind the cat at first when my lense pointed at her, but after some coaxing she lowered down the cat and smiled.
But as I was sitting inside the little humble home, I felt a certain warmth and cosiness about it. The house is full of love and happiness. Despite their difficulties, this is a family that believes in each other.
The Project would like to thank all anonymous donors. If you are interested to help this family, or know of any other less fortunate families around Johor, do let us know. We can organise a trip to visit and help them. It doesn't necessarily have to be before Aidilfitri. Let's make their lives a little better in whatever little way we can.
The old coal kiln outside their home. Photo copyright of Tahirah Manesah Abu Bakar, September 2009.
The family's home. On the foreground is En.Khairulazam's son. Photo copyright of Tahirah Manesah Abu Bakar, September 2009.
En Khairulazam's wife, and my mom. Photo copyright of Tahirah Manesah Abu Bakar, September 2009.
The jetty leading to Sg. Pendas, outside the family's home. Photo copyright of Tahirah Manesah Abu Bakar, September 2009.
En. Khairulazam and kids. On the background is my mom. Photo copyright of Tahirah Manesah Abu Bakar, September 2009.