Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thank you for your RM1 - it's a beginning

anakku sayang
baju sekolahmu telah koyak
tiada gantinya, nak.
tampallah lagi
tahun ini buku sekolahmu, siapa membeli?
dan seperti ayahmu
mimpilah, mimpilah anak-anakku
jika mimpi masih milikmu lagi;
kau akan belajar ke universiti.

usman awang
jun 1968

RM1 a day won't take us far nowadays. Heck, it may not even get us a decent roti canai and teh tarik anymore! But RM1 day, accumulated over 30 days and over 12 months, can make a difference. At least, that's what I'm banking on.

I drove in silence to Masjid Behrang Ulu, some 70km from KL. It doesn't take more than half an hour, toll to toll, and no heavy traffic. By the time I reached the masjid, the Isya' prayers was just about to finish. After the doa was read, everyone sat back and gathered around.

Razali acted as emcee while Manan and the Tok Imam gave away the money collected from donors to 24 school-going orphans. In less than 10 minutes everything was over. The appropriate thank you was said and we adjourned to the buffet area for a simple dinner prepared by Yassin and his gang.

There were plenty of questions over the dinner table. Who gave this donation? Will there be more? Will you be helping the aged and the poor? When is the next donation? How much was in the envelope? Was this a one-time only contribution?

The kampong folks are full of questions. And hopes. I just told them that I'm very fortunate to have some good friends who are both generous and sincere in helping the orphans. And that when I SMSed them, they unhesitatingly gave their support to this initiative.

I asked the kampong folks only one thing - that they too must play their part if they want to see their kampong get out from the backwaters of development into the mainstream of national prosperity. At the moment, Manan and Razali are doing most of the legwork in this initiative. Without their time and effort, it would have been extremely difficult to get this far.

It's going to take a lot more work to get things organised. I must at this point thank all of you who have contributed. My friends, it is my doa for the Hijrah 1429 that you and I take this journey to help these orphans to prepare themselves for a better future. I'm quite sure that education will be the best help we can give these children, all children for that matter. (That would be Stage II of this initiative).

I'm reminded of al-Ghazali's words when he wrote about the 'Duties of Brotherhood.' There are eight duties in all. In it, al-Ghazali said: "The second duty is to render personal aid in the satisfaction of needs, attending to them without waiting to be asked, and giving them priority over private needs."

The story is told that in the early days, a Muslim would see to the maintenance of his brother's wife and children for 40 years after his brother's death, attending to their needs...and providing for them from his wealth so that they missed only the father's person...

In the coming weeks and months, I'll share with you other initiatives. I've asked Tony to help get some details of an orphanage nearer to KL, and hopefully I can get more friends to join. You and I are not supported by any wealthy foundation my friends, but I hope we can build a lasting foundation for our brothers and sisters regardless of race, creed or colour.

Meanwhile, enjoy the break. Salam Maal Hijrah!

No comments: