Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Many of us when we were kids grew up surrounded by books, story books more likely, English books more pertinently. Within the pages of these books, from Enid Blyton books to Lewis Carroll, we are transported to new realms of mystery, fun and adventure, far removed from our meagre family surroundings. The decades of neglect of the English language has made the reading of English books a rarity rather than the norm for the youngsters of today. Yes some of the more well to do kids can still read e-books on their fancy new media devices but what about the poorer kids? Not only can’t they afford to pay a tutor for extra English lessons, many can’t even speak the language at all.
Jumble Station solved this problem by teaming up with Community Excel Services (CES) to offer English tuition classes every Saturday afternoon for the last 8 years. However this once a week benefit is insufficient for many a poor parent keen to have their kids be conversant in the language or at least understand it to the best of their ability. Realising the need to fill this desire for the younger generation to learn English, PWP took the initiative to get and renovate shop lot next door to Jumble Station’s second hand shop at Angsana low cost flats and appropriately name it as Reading Station. Here, youngsters and even adults can have free access to English story books and read them in peace and comfort if they so choose. Reading Station will also be the venue for those who want to volunteer their time to read stories to the youngsters, share or teach English nursery rhymes and spark the desire to read among the young ones.
In late October, Rema Menon who has spent quite a bit of her own free time teaching English to the well heeled kids decided to lend a hand to PWP and accompanied by two friends, Ms Siew Bean a retired maths teacher and Ms Jean Choo a retired college lecturer, they successfully kick-started the Reading Station. The youngsters who were present that day, had an hour long interesting reading and sharing session and the teachers found it a very conducive and cool environment to begin their first of what they hope is a long term programme. To Rema, the process is focused more on the need to instill a passion for reading among the kids and that the teachers concerned will zero in more on the input than the output at this point in time. “It is small beginnings but it is a process in progress and Reading Station is a good start,” she said. Getting the place and making the Reading Station convenient and conducive is key but what PWP needs now are volunteers to spend time with the kids, to share with the kids their love for books and the beauty of the English language, to open the eyes and hearts of the youngsters to a new novel world out there that can someday enable them to be an active participant of the global language scenario that the English language currently occupies.
Those interested in volunteering or donating story books for Reading Station activities, do contact : Jayapratha 019-2331730 or Adrian : 0162202958 .
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Bread is the kind of food that even the poorest of the poor can afford to eat in lean times but how many of the poor folks do know how to bake their own bread? Hardly any so it was no surprise that when Gardenia Bakeries (KL) Sdn Bhd sent an invitation to PWP’s single parents to visit its factory, many single parents and their kids jumped at the chance. A total of 36 children and 14 adults arrived at the Gardenia Product Manufacturing plant at Lot 35, Persiaran Sabak Bernam , Kawasan Hicom (Section 26) Shah Alam at 10am on September 19 and were greeted by Gardenia’s marketing assistant Aida Fahima Mat Shah who acted as tour guide and translator for the hour and half tour of the place. First off was a short corporate video presentation on the manufacturing, delivery and distribution of Gardenia bread itself. There was also a short briefing on rules and regulation pertaining to the tour including the fact that no food or drinks are allowed inside the premises and no crossing the yellow line while walking as well as no touching the glass window while viewing. This is to ensure the plant is left clean and uncontaminated. Inside the factory, visitors could see first hand the various huge machines making and preparing the dough, kneading them, slicing them, filling them with cream and packaging them all. Both adults and youngsters were in awe at the use of the many different kinds of machines in all shapes and sizes utilised mainly for their specialized skills and the fact that the machines are kept in tip top condition and capable of running non-stop for 24hours, 7 days a week! The entire bread making process was a marvel and Aida was quick to share information and translate at the same time so that everyone understood the intricate process of Gardenia bread-making and bread marketing. The knowledge gleaned came in really handy during tea time when a Q&A session was conducted but a key question she posed on “what is the unique symbol in Gardenia Bread’s logo” had everyone stumped! Answers like the colours, the shape and the people who made the bread all proved wrong until PWP helper JR blurted out it was the flora – the tiny flower that is on the alphabet “i” in the word Gardenia instead of the usual dot that is its trade mark significance. Other Qs raised by PWP visitors included such issues as those raised by Farah Ain “what happens to bread that is rejected” “Rejected bread are sent to the National Zoo.” Emilda wanted to know if GST is imposed on all or some of Gardenia Bread and can old bread be freezed in the fridge? “GST is imposed on all except for white bread and old bread should not be kept in the fridge since it will attract mold and fungus.” One curious kid raised this sharp query “Why is Gardenia bread expensive?” “In reality, the price is the same but pricing is dictated by market and retail factors that comply with the law.” The plant visit ended with each visitor given a goody bag containing a Gardenia loaf, buns, muffins, chocolate spread and others, all freshly baked by Gardenia Bakeries. While the kids were falling over themselves walloping the goodies, the single parents themselves expressed satisfaction with the fact that they finally have a clearer idea of what goes into the making of Gardenia Bread and the plant visit was truly informational for all of them indeed.
Saturday, September 19, 2015
It’s not just adults that love to take a ride in a classic car, little kids too find it absolutely fascinating and when Merdeka Day came this year, the little children of poor single parents were once again invited to attend the Classic Cars Merdeka Charity Event in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. While waiting for the different cars to gather, the children and their minders who were gathered near the Crystal Crown Hotel, found themselves entertained by a group of young adults from the global organization, Peace Road. To garner the patriotic spirit, they had the children singing Malaysian songs including the ‘Jalur Gemilang’ and ‘Kita 1 Malaysia’, followed by funny actions such as the chicken dance and finding the numbers game. Naturally to ensure the kids don’t go off hungry, they were treated to light snacks and drinks before they joined the convoy heading towards Subang Jaya. Waving small Malaysian flags, the youngsters and adults entered fully into the Merdeka spirit even as they posed for innumerable photographs. Upon arrival at SS15 Subang Jaya, an area next to Public Bank they were greeted by Subang Jaya V IP Hannah Yeoh, who gleefully joined the children in another round of sing-alongs, flag waving and Merdeka cheers once again! The vintage car drivers then took the children all the way to Lake View Garden where they were entertained by two balloonist creating fascinating balloons in various shapes and sizes. When asked about the vintage ride itself, Shahlini,12 and her sister Trishini, 10, both daughters of single mum Rathna , says she was very happy to have the ride. Mohammad Ridzuan ,9 also felt delighted to be part of the vintage ride, his eyes portrayed his obvious happiness. To round up the totally 1Malaysia children group, Matthias, Elijah and Isaac, three sons of single mother Jayapratha also were happy with their ride because this time, they got to try a different vehicle. What made it interesting for the trio was the fact they had a very interesting conversation with the driver about their future! After which, token in kind was given out to respective homes, PWP received a generous amount RM4500.00 in which will go on to help the smum/dads who needs it the most in this current situation! The event was capped off beautifully with the handing over of a cheque as a donation to PWP’s co-founder Lim Lian See who gave a short speech of thanks to the organising committee for including our children in their annual vintage charity ride.
When Parents Without Partners Bhd (PWP)’s single parents were told Microsoft Malaysia had a gift for them for the Hari Raya season, it was understandable if they thought it would be computer related items. If it was, it would not have been very practical for them because to all these poor single parents feeding their hungry brood tops their list of priorities before anything else. So it came as a total surprise for 23 single parents under PWP’s care to be gifted with a huge box filled not with IT products but with groceries including such staples as a large packet of rice, cooking oil, tinned foodstuffs and other daily essentials. The gift box coming close on the heels of Hari Raya proved to be a timely blessing especially in view of the fact that prices of monthly necessities had shot up since the imposition of the GST while the income of single parents were stretched really thin. The amount of stuff in the box was sufficient to last an extra month and for those who wanted to cook extra for family members who were visiting, they at least had something to offer their guests. Their testimony of the timeliness of Microsoft’s gift for the 2015 Raya festive season is evidence enough. Take single mum Juliana, who works as a nurse in PPUM while supporting her 3 children. She struggles each month to meet her financial overheads and is forced to work extra to earn that extra money needed.. So when Microsoft gave her that gift box, she was absolutely thrilled. “Alhamdulillah, thanks a lot to Microsoft, this gift helps to cut down my high cost of living and enables me to have a better Raya this year,” she said. Another grateful recipient was Aszuridah a single mum, who sells’ kuih’ with her mom and doubles by doing some babysitting as well just so she can continue supporting her 3 young children. She admits to undergoing severe emotional depression over her plight, but Microsoft’s generous gesture has brought some measure of joy during the Raya season. Single mum Hasnita who lives with her sister and her two small children was bubbling with happiness over Microsoft’s surprise gift. She earns a small income selling cakes and ‘nasi lemak’ and felt so touched that staff from a big IT centric firm like Microsoft would consider her plight and step in to assist. To these and other poor single parents under PWP’s care, who are most often overlooked or ignored by big corporate bodies, the hand of friendship and assistance from software giant Microsoft was an unforgettable gesture of kindness, an act they are so very thankful for.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Most people connect Deloitte with all things financial specifically auditing. Yet there is a softer side to the number crunching organization and this was made evident recently when it sent a team of young Deloitte financial whiz to do some community work for the poor. Appropriately named Impact Day, the team of 20 youths led by Ms Jes Lua, Assistant Audit Capture Managerin Deloitte Malaysia chose to help with the preparations for Reading Station, a project designed to assist the children of single parents and poor children in the Angsana low cost flats at Subang Mewah, Subang Jaya. Reading Station is aimed at encouraging poor youngsters to learn English, enjoy reading and more importantly, bringing English books to them directly for free. The help that Deloitte youths offered included helping to paint the walls of the Reading Station , painting interesting murals on the walls, fixing and placing the shelves to hold the story books, painting the walls outside of the 2nd hand shop Jumble Station, panting both the folding gate outside the both Reading Station and Jumble Station. Jes who had not known of PWP and its focus on poor single mums and single dads felt it was timely to reach out these folks but little did she know that this would be the most challenging community centric project Deloitte had ever taken on. JS manager Adrian Ong was on hand to open the metal doors and the lack of electricity due to faulty wiring saw all of them sweating from beginning to the end. While the women did the painting, the men did the carpentry and got the book shelves all ready for the many story books that was eventually placed on them. The team’s choice of the mural was also interesting - two children seated on the grass are reading a book and the act of reading increases the imagination, knowledge and eventually will spark the youngsters into wanting to learn and enabling them to someday becoming a graduate Painting and carpentry aside, the Deloitte team were told about what PWP and JS stood for and more importantly, what the Reading Station hopes to achieve as well. For many of them, the efforts put in for that day alone will prove mighty useful for the intended targets and their efforts will not go unappreciated indeed.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Raya is the time for family and at Jumble Station, staff is family indeed. No surprise that this year too, despite the extremely tough business environment with sales and donation of stuff slowing down, JS staff still wanted to have a festive meal out if only to let their hair down and drop the stress factor issue. As Jayapratha herself said, “apart from the fact that it’s time to laugh and tear up, the key attraction was to just eat, eat and eat!! “These are one of those times where we gather to appreciate what JS is doing for each of us, undoubtably we are JS workers, but at JS we treat each another as ‘family’. This time around it was more like a family reunion as well J. Co-founder Mary Anne was even lured into singing “Rasa Sayang” amidst much laughter while the casual warm bonding and friendliness of co-founder Sanice saw many of us – Adrian, Hasrun, Hani, Mala, Suhaibah and their kids – all high fiving each other adding to many more wonderful memories for the album. Food wise, the authenticity of the east coast cuisine at Kelantan Delights at Citta Mall was scrumptious and mouthwatering. Selamat Hari Raya to all our Muslim supporters!
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Most children of poor single parents don’t get to experience life on a farm. Yes they are familiar with dogs, cats and may be a rabbit or two. However other farm animals like cows, goats, pigs etc are virtually unknown to them and when you add in exotic creatures like snakes, iguanas and colourful parrots –are those are real mysteries to them. It was precisely because of this that the Kiwanis of Bukit Bandaraya chose to make some 23 kids of poor single parents their guests for a visit to a farm in the city at Seri Kembangan. The kids had a whale of their time, watching, petting, feeding and learning about such exotic animals as a baby kangaroo, iguanas, deer, otters, turtles, ducks, turkeys, birds of all colours and breed and fishes too. Feeding the animals up close and personal with critters chomping on potato leaves offered by the young eager beavers was a joy to behold. That the kids learnt fast through this direct, hands on, most tactile of experience was obvious, that they had a whale of a time petting, feeding and just watching the funny antics of the critters was clear. For Parents Without Partners, this farm-jungle experience is an unbelievably good way of allowing young kids a chance to see something of real nature away from the petty confines of their poverty stricken neighbourhood. It was a breath of fresh air and we thank the Kiwanis of Bukit Bandaraya for sharing the beauty of nature to our younger generation.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Oftentimes volunteers for charity downplay the role they play to the organisations they contribute their time and their efforts. Recently PWP/JS was able to share with volunteers of CES Foodbank how vital their input has been single parents in dire need. Yes Food Bank’s groceries help us to reach out to poor single parents in a practical & realistic manner. It tells them that they are not alone, there are hearts out there who care enough to want to give them groceries month after month until they can get back on their feet financially. But Foodbank is more than just a “ handout” it is at times the one and only lifeline for single parents struggling to come to terms with their own, very personal tragic events. Single mother Emilda is one case. Abandoned by her hubby 3 years ago she struggled to care for her 3 kids – two boys and a girl. Emilda was recently injured in a motorbike accident and tragically lost her youngest son in the accident. Her pain and grief was indescribable, she could not do anything but her two other kids still needed to eat and Foodbank’s groceries was all that enabled her to grieve while still feeding her other two kids. Another single mum Nancy suffered a stroke for two years following a car accident. She had just recovered and was driving out to a client place to hand over some accounting work done in her home when she lost her lost her life in a car accident. This picture of us giving her her monthly groceries was the last and only family photo taken before her tragic death. Rishi’s mum Saraswathy, was abandoned by her drunken hubby leaving her to care for 11 yr old Rishi and his older sister. Uneducated and without skills, JS helped Saras to get a job in a soap factory and Foodbank assisted with groceries for 3 years. She contracted cancer and did not tell her kids or PWP till it was too late. She died late 2013 and her older daughter who finished her studies and working, cares for Rishi today. Friends of PWP/JS and volunteers of Foodbank, never underestimate the impact your input has played in the lives of these people who are recipients of your efforts. Every minute, every hour, every day spent on helping those in need, is and will always be a life changing experience for you and them. Volunteers are vital…always!
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Some people use words to get their creative juices going, some rely on pictures or photos to do the same. Stephanie Lee however chooses a different manner to get her message across – she cooks and designs eye catching delicious dishes that captures the heart and the tummies of the viewers and the diners. Stephanie is an ordinary mum who wanted to make eating an interesting thing for her two daughters and in 2008, she hit on the idea of making her cooking adorably fun and colourful. She was so good, her cute, artsy dishes became an inspiration to many other mothers and she now attracts 650,000 instagram followers. Guardian knew that Samantha’s culinary art described as “good enough to eat” by the various foreign media is exactly the kind of “food that can do good,” so she was roped her to create a limited edition calendar for 2015 titled “Love Life, Be Inspired” which was given to customers who purchased its products priced RM100 and above. The calendars were a terrific hit and true to the statement that “food that can do good” Guardian with Samantha’s recommendation chose to donate RM10,000 to three charities including Parents Without Partners Bhd. Co-founder Sanice Kam who attended the cheque presentation ceremony shared that the amount will be utilised to set up “Change Station” in USJ1, a mini library in a shoplot for poor children and adults including single parents and their kids who want to enjoy reading story books, participate in story telling sessions and learn English. Change Station is located just next door to our second hand shop Jumble Station at F1-01-04 Angsana Flats, Subang Mewah, USJ1 and will be open to volunteers who want to assist us in bringing stories to life and teach them simple English to the poor folks in the low cost area. Together with Guardian and Samantha Lee, PWP aims to extend the theme of “Love Life, Be Inspired” through Change Station and this timely donation makes it a reality today.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Rockwills International Group has been around for ages signing up and making more Malaysians aware of the need to draw up a will and handle their estate planning in a more professional manner. Well today three top guns led by co-founder and group managing director Saw Leong Aun paid a visit to our charity shop at Jaya One (Level P1, The School) in Petaling Jaya for the express purpose of finding out how they can assist our poor single parents. First off, they were delighted to discover how PWP was able to recycle and up-cycle donated items and they could immediately envision how their large pool of Rockwills estate planners could just as easily chip in to help by sending their donated items to our newest outlet. They also shared the possibility of including us in their planned Family Day event in August where PWP will be given a booth to promote its activity. One other possibility is for the Rockwills Estate planners to help sponsor at least one school going child of poor single parents so that PWP’s Back to School programme for the December 2015 will be yet another happy and helpful event for the single parents and kids alike. PWP on its part is delighted to be one of the possible recipients of Rockwills largesse and we look forward to a fruitful and inspiring collaboration before the end of this year.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Saturday, January 31, 2015
Running a charity shop is never easy. Workers are an integral part of any charity organization. Volunteers are fine but volunteers come and go at their own time and their own flexibility. Workers on the other hand are the bedrock of the success of any endeavor but good workers are truly hard to find. In the case of a charity shop, workers with zeal, dedication, passion and integrity are like true diamonds so so hard to find.