I was walking back to my car after breakfast yesterday, and was taking a shortcut through Sunway Giza when a bunting caught my eye.
There were very few people around at that time; it was only 10am. The booth wasn’t even set up yet, and it was empty save for one young man who had obviously just arrived, and was in the process of unpacking his backpack.
I am no philanthropist; sometimes when I get approached by people asking me for donations, I would have to firmly and politely decline. It’s not that I don’t want to contribute – I am already contributing to many funds, and I simply do not have the means to contribute to every charitable organisation, and quite frankly, I feel that some of these donation drives are major con jobs. Okay, maybe that’s overexaggerating, but the truth is, in many public donation funds, only a small percentage of our money actually goes to the cause we are trying to help.
But the bunting caught my attention, and the young man saw me stop, and he didn’t waste time in coming over to talk to me about the cause.
He first gave me an introduction about the society he was representing, which was the Charity Organisation of the Voices of Children Malaysia (SUKA), a non-governmental organisation working with United Nations to help children, namely in these three categories:
- Orang Asli children – Did you know only 6 out of 100 children complete their Form 5 education? That’s a measly 6%!
- Trafficked children – About 400,000 children are trafficked every year, ending up in prostitution, slave labour and illegal adoption. And Malaysia is in Tier 2 watch list!
- Marginalised children – Refugees and undocumented children continue to be arrested and detained, without access to to welfare needs.
SUKA relies heavily on public donations to get their cause going, needing at least RM600,000 a year.
I asked pointedly about where the money was going to, but it was something obviously preempted, because the information was clearly printed in the flyer.
The progress has been quite impressive, with the amount of things they have done to help the children, especially the orang asli. Their progress to date, as taken from their website:
They still need a lot of support from the public, so I’ve decided to write a blogpost to help them spread the word (yes, amidst all the backlogged blogposts!!!).
I have signed up for to contribute via Direct Debit, and I hope more people will do the same. Their donations are not tax-deductible yet because they have not reached 2000 donors, but hopefully with your help, they will be able to hit that target soon.
ON A SIDE NOTE
Reading about how the orang asli people get sidelined makes me sad. It reminds me of my visit to the orang asli village when I went to Taman Negara three years ago, and I was appalled at the way they were paraded like animals in a zoo. I mean… these are human beings, who deserve privacy and respect just like any other person. But the way they were displayed and their homes were open for intrusion by curious tourists was simply disgusting. I think this is why this cause has struck a deeper chord within me – because I have personally witnessed some of the things the people had to go through.
So, to anyone reading this, I really hope you will be able to reach out and help. Even if you can’t spare your time, the least you can do is contribute financially so that the right people can do the right things to help the community and the children.
For more information about the society, what they do, and how you can help, please visit www.sukasociety.org.
Thanks for reading!