Birthdays usually means cutting cakes, gathering with families and friends with good food, gifts, flowers, etc. This year, I decided to do it differently and celebrate my birthday at an orphanage. I contacted my good friend Rynne, who has been involved in charity work and knows a person who runs an orphanage in Cheras and asked if she could help me organised lunch for the kids. After all, she has been doing catering for the orphanage from people's donations.
The owner cum caretaker, Kak Umi granted us the permission to host lunch for the kids on Wednesday, 9 March 2011. So, we decided on the menu, nasi minyak and Red Velvet cup cakes for approximately 80 pax. Baitul Ehsan, the orphanage comprised three houses, two of the houses are located at Jalan Wirawati 6 of Taman Maluri and are the place for 25 girls ranging from 5 to 18 years old and younger boys aged 2 to 5 years. The bigger boys stay at a different house in Taman Permata. The kids are either orphans or abandoned by their parents for reasons only known to them.
Come the day, I was quite nervous since that was my first experience at an orphanage. I didn't know what to expect and my knowledge was limited to the stuff I read in the papers, magazines or internet. I was lucky that my mum agreed to come along and I was hoping that my close buddies would be there too to lend their support. The place is quite easy to find and when we reached there, Rynne was unloading the food from her MPV with the help of the girls.
When we walked in, we were greeted by the girls, majority in black abaya and I was later introduced to Kak Umi. While waiting for Intan and Bj to arrive, I took the opportunity to get to know the place from Kak Umi. She and her husband has been running the place for quite a while now and that made me wonder where they get their source of fund. According to Kak Umi, she relied on donations from the public and at the same time look for people to sponsor the kids. She and her husband have strong faith that Allah swt will help and guide them to look after the kids.
Some of the kids have come and go and the eldest is now in Egypt to further his studies. A few are studying in Indonesia. The children did not go to school but they learn tahfiz at home and would later take the SPM exam privately. One of the girls have memorised up to juzuk 8 of Al Quran and are taught by qualified ustazah. They have very strict routine and from my observation, the girls are very polite, well mannered and very discipline. The bigger ones look after the smaller ones and they help the caretakers with the household cores.
The ceremony started with a welcoming note from one of the girls and followed by recitation of doa led by another girl. I was so touched and almost shed a tear. Looking at them, without parents and their living condition with just bare minimum made me realised how much I have spoiled my kids. Giving them what they wanted although more often than not, it is as a reward for their achievement or to overcome guilt if we have to abandon them to go somewhere or feeling sorry since they have to endure life in boarding schools. Whatever the reasons may be, they should appreciate what they have and be grateful with Allah's blessings. One day, I shall bring them over to learn the generosity of spirit and be thankful for life when they see these children.
After lunch, we spent some time talking to the children and learn more about their backgrounds and how they ended up there. These kids are born into this life and deserve our help. Baitul Ehsan has provided a chance at life for these kids and they have this chance because of wonderful people like Kak Umi and her husband who dedicate their life to helping these children. Deep down, I want to help too, in a small way and I'm glad that my friends shared similar intentions. A little help can go a long way.
We finally bid farewell to Kak Umi and the kids and promised to be back soon. After the event, I felt so satisfied that I did something to bring smiles to their faces. Although it was really nothing compared to what Kak Umi has done. I have been wanting to do this for a long time in my own little way but just couldn’t find the time and guts to do it. I'm glad to have made that first step. Thanks Mummy, Rynne, Intan and Bj for being there, it was a wonderful celebration.