Friday, August 20, 2010

MyKasih @ Mydin

Single Parents and Poor Families at Angsana recently got the feel of how the MyKasih programme works during the official launch at the Mydin Hypermarket in Subang Jaya.
Ambank chief honcho Tan Sri Dato Azman Hashim kicked off the event with a RM52,000 donation for the Angsana based recipients and another RM1 million for future neighbourhood locations to come. Mydin’s big boss Dato Ameer Ali Mydin who was once an employee of Ambank was also on hand to welcome his former boss and the My Kasih team.

Single parents Panjalai came with her son Kumanan and daughter Sujatha, Mariam came with her younger son Karthik, Letchumy, Jacky, Irene Tong and Suhaibah were also there for this special occasion. A mute couple, Victor and Fang Pheng recommended by Jumble Station were present for the event and appeared quite bewildered by what was going on!

Each of the MyKasih recipient was given a duit raya packet with RM50 in it and told to begin shopping for their RM40 groceries that day itself. For many, it was a case of trial and error, many had to go back and take only the items that were featured in a little booklet they were given and any different products taken meant delays at the payout counter. Once the right goods were checked out, the recipient’s MyKad was inserted into a handheld machine and the amount of goods bought was successfully swiped from their MyKad.

Many of the single parents and even the mute couple were delighted to go home armed with big bags of groceries and they were even more delighted to learn that they would be getting MyKasih’s RM40 every two weeks for 12 months. They are of course, extremely grateful to all the corporate bodies out there that were willing to sponsor this uniquely special programme for the poor. The Angsana single parents are happy, hopefully it will be the turn of single parents at Lembah Subang, Desa Mentari or Shah Alam next.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

PWP benefits from the Edge Rat Race 2010

There is a big difference between being a runner and a charity recipient in the Edge Rat Race. As a runner, you are high on adrenaline and you sweat buckets as you try to make it to the finishing line. As a recipient of the Edge Rat Race, you are also running on adrenaline mentally and you sweat buckets in the heat as you wait for the race to be over but the difference is that as a recipient, you already know you are a winner from the minute you participate!

For Parents without Partners (PWP), the thrill was to be a part of this pulsating, fun, adrenaline driven annual event. I’d forgotten how much fun it was and participating in the 2010 event brought it all back with a vengeance. Years back when I first joined the Edge netvalue team, one of the first things newcomers have to do in the Edge is to run for the Rat Race and I gamely took up the challenge while my other colleague Risen chose the easier route – cover the event as a journalist.

In the end, the running was the easier part, you could run or walk and I did both, beating our dispatch boy by several lengths too! This year, PWP was chosen as one of the 20 recipients for the charity run and we were given each a table to display our creative wares and brochures so that the runners and their corporate supporters could have a better idea of what we the charity organizations that they were raising funds for, were actually doing.

Sad to say, only a handful of curious supporters and cheerleaders stopped at the row of tables where we were situated but undaunted, yours truly decided to be more proactive. Armed with my faithful SLR, I marched up to the stage and proceeded to take photos of the various groups that were being photographed by the Edge’s official photographer. When each team came down, I handed over my business card and told them that I had the photos if they wanted and to keep us in mind if they had items they wanted to let go. How’s that for pro-active promotion?

In the evening, we the 20 charity organizations were feted to a lovely dinner in an open amphitheatre and each organization was presented with a mock cheque for the projects we had planned to implement. In our case, we had presented three different projects first off was the Brilliant Light Homework Centre – a homebased study centre for kids who are unable to attend school due perhaps to a lack of birth certs or have been expelled from school for various reasons.

The second project is the Hungry Hearts Project – a soup kitchen concept that we believe will help ensure there are less hungry kids and their parents at Lembah Subang. The last project is the Photography with Passion project that we hope to implement during the end year school holidays where the children of single parents can learn photography and develop a new interest and new skills to help keep them off the streets.

This donation from the Edge is the first of many more fund raising activities PWP intends to undertake to ensure we have the funds we need to empower single parents in need to live more independent lives. We believe always in doing our best and leave God to do the rest!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Meet Fabroid & Kidroid – Our single dad and son robots

What do you do if a kid dislikes academic studies? Or cannot find a job after many months? Try getting them to learn new skills – like robot making for instance! Jumble Station got this opportunity recently when robot maker extraordinaire Lim dropped by at Angsana Flats in USJ 1 Subang Jaya to invite 5 children of single parents to participate in a one day workshop on how to make robots.

Getting five youngsters to volunteer for this was easy, almost everyone of the youngsters present clamoured for the opportunity but in the end, it was 20-year old Kumanan, jobless for 5 months now, his sister Sujatha, Siva and his brother Kannan and Prityaraj were the happy ones who got the chance to participate in the course.

Mind you the course isn’t cheap, it costs roughly around RM400 per kid but what’s great about this is that the course is already sponsored by a corporate individual or organization so for the charity organization concerned, it’s free! Lim’s task was to teach the art of creating and building robots using everyday recycle items, objects and parts.

So there we were, bright and early at the Youth International Centre in Cheras where the Whiz Wits class by Think Technique founder Lim Name Aik was being held. There we found another five groups (a sixth group came in much later) from the various homes in the Klang Valley. There was the Ti Ratana Karuna Ilam group from Kepong, the Anbul Ilam group from Klang, the Cornerstone group from Semenyih, the Shelter Home group from Petaling Jaya and the House of Joy. The last group to arrive was ….

To get the motley crew of young robot makers into the spirit of creativity, Lim first had the youngster moving to a rap song designed to get their different body parts moving in consonant with the lyrics – right hand, left hand, right leg, left leg, head… you get the drift?

Rap over, the kids then swung into action. Taking the recycled items that they had brought, they got into a quick huddle to decide on what form their robot would take. For a while most were stumped for answers till Lim came along and guided them expertly into what would be suitable for which part of the robot. All, except one team of girls who came with just a sackful of mineral water bottles, they later got a helping hand from the other teams who had extra items they didn’t need.

Next the kids were given directions on how to use the various drills, bits and other electrical mechanical gadgets, the braver ones couldn’t wait to get their hands on the equipment, the more timid ones preferred to just watch or hold the items to be drilled fast.

Our team were perplexed at first and spent the greater part of the morning on how to get the base for the robot properly affixed because it was not plastic but metal. Eventually they settled on putting a square shaped hi fi speaker and screwing it on really tight. Next was the issue of putting the hollowed out printer and computer monitor together which was a real issue because one was bigger than the other and leaving it like that made for a very wobbly robot. Even Lim the expert couldn’t devise a way to get the robot to stand rock solid so the team eventually decided to completely remove the printer and just make do with the pc monitor which made for a shorter robot than most but at least it was steady and firm.

For the head, they used an aromatic bowl with its innards removed while its eyes were from an old binoculars and its limbs from a discarded plastic tricycle. On their own, the discarded items looked like what they were – junk – but in the hands of these young, enthusiastic robotic mechanics, the items were creatively put together to emerge as “Fabroid and Kidroid” a father and son robotic family. When asked, Kumanan explained that all the members of the team were children of single parents, they wanted their prototype robot to be a single father and his robotic son!And the green Hulk hands - that's to tell others to lend a helping hand and to green the earth. How nice, now we can use this item for a promotion the next JS goes on an awareness drive.

Meanwhile the other teams delivered pretty impressive results too, especially after their creative endeavours were spray painted silver coloured. Funnily, none of the other teams wanted to use any other colour except silver although there were green and red ones as well. The only team that consented to use only did that because there were no silver spray paints left by the time all the other teams got through theirs. Naturally every team was extremely proud of their new achievement and the JS team got a double dose of confidence when Fabroid and Kidroid were photographed by two women who were captivated by it while we were waiting for our ride home. With the robotic competition coming up sometime in September, you can bet, these youngsters will be raring to show off their new found ‘robotics’ skills.