My parents had adviced me to give donations as a reminder to always be humble and to also give back to the society as much we possible can while we’re still alive. You may think that has nothing to do with my travel stories but it does happen in the streets, our streets where the homeless are regarded as nomads, moving from one place to another, seeking shelter from the hot sun and rain while trying to survive their days in the city. This would be my first time volunteering and I had no expectations whatsoever except to help serve the homeless last night. To tell you the truth I was quite nervous before we headed to Masjid Jamek area and as we got closer, I was quiet especially when I noticed a group of people sitting down on the straw mats, watching a local Malay movie displayed on the screen by a projector. At one corner sits a table with food that was prepared by the sponsored company, KPJ Healthcare. The menu for tonight consists of white rice, ayam masak lemak, ulam (vegetables), sambal belacan, apple and bread.
1Charity is a non-profit organization committed to mobilizing the community to empower homeless individuals, families and those in crisis to strive for self-sufficiency. – 1Charity
According to Kak Enn, one of the dedicated volunteers for 1Charity, the programme which started 3 years ago has grown quite positively until today as more companies were interested in this joint collaboration that happens twice a week. While I was there, although I was not able to assist much as the programme was assisted by the sponsors, I did notice how it was conducted in an orderly matter and everything was on time. While the food was being prepared and laid out on the table, our guests would sit together, watching the film until we announced that the food was ready.
An orderly line would be formed and one by one the guests were given a plate of food consisting of the menu of the day and a drink. They would then continue to eat while watching the film just like they would normally do in a home, with a more relaxed environment and less stressful. The charity hopes that this would make them happy and forget the sorrows of the world with food in their tummies. Yes they did mention that all the food that was served were home cooked so that it would be hot during feeding time. It’s just like eating at home.
The only decent photo I have of the feeding last night.
That Sick Feeling In Your Tummy.
I felt a tinge of sadness watching old folks clutching to the only bag they have while waiting for the food to be served. I couldn’t even imagine where they would be living but my friends Jaja & Bart who have more volunteering experience than I do told me that they had walked the streets of Pudu and Central Market to seek the homeless living under the bridge, passing to them the food for the night. There was even one time where an Uncle declined the food and told them to give it to someone else who needed it. It was just the noblest thing I’ve ever heard. They live day by day not knowing when there’s food yet they are not greedy when it comes to receiving it. Bart explained that there were some rules or conduct that we need to understand when doing the volunteering work such as looking at them when they thank you and never stepping on their boxes because that’s where they sleep at night. Those boxes are their home, their floor, their shelter from the cold of the night.
Everyone Needs A Helping Hand
I remembered my boss telling me once that sometimes people need a helping hand to lift them off the ground and this is how I perceived 1Charity programme to be. I did ask how come these guests who are able bodied, not able to get jobs and a home for themselves. I wondered why they did not try hard enough but Kak Enn’s explanation made me understand the situation better. Although the guests are able bodied, most of them did not finish their education with some of not being able to read & write. This makes them harder to get a desk job in the city. There are also some who do have jobs but with salaries amounting to RM300-RM400 a month, it is not enough to make it in this big city, especially if they are older citizens. I just hope that with the help that we extended, it makes their burden become less of a struggle and at least they know that there will always be food served for them on every Thursday as well as Friday night. I would definitely join the programme again and maybe be able to help them serve as well as chat with the guests a little bit more. Sometimes it takes an understanding of what they go through in order for us to make any assessment of their life and how they live by day to day. Thank you to both Jaja & Bart for bringing me to this wonderful programme which has touched the hearts of many.
We strive to increase social awareness, promote the personal and educational benefits of participation and encourage people to develop life-long social responsibility in the community. – 1Charity
How To Volunteer:
Feed the Homeless Programme with 1Charity happens at Bank Muamalat nearby LRT Masjid Jamek every Thursday and Friday from 9:30pm onwards til the food runs out. Anyone can volunteer or make donations to 1Charity. More info on the programme can be found here https://www.facebook.com/groups/179270728892178/
*This article was not sponsored by any parties and is the writers’ own experience
A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.