The innocence of children is something that truly makes you believe that the world can become a better place, which is why working with them can be such a rewarding experience. Just ask Aliah, one of UPLIFT’s volunteers helping out at the Kg. Serigala kindergarten!
In March 2022, UPLIFT and the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) collaborated with SUKA Society to set up a kindergarten for the children of the Semai (Orang Asli) community of Kg. Serigala. Its aim? To transform lives through education by giving these children the chance to learn and attend classes. This initiative seeks to pave their way towards a better future for themselves and their community.
Aliah and the other volunteers have been hard at work teaching the children, but their time at the kindergarten isn’t just for studying! The Orang Asli kids at Kg. Serigala have stolen the hearts of more than a few volunteers with their adorable antics and cheerful attitude to learning, Aliah included. So two days after her birthday (April 14), she made plans to celebrate with the kids.
On chatting with her to learn more about how she got her plans in order, Aliah shared that while she generally wasn’t one for spur of the moment plans, in this case, things just seemed to fall into place. It was only after signing up to volunteer for tutoring that she realised her birthday coincided with her volunteer slot. Considering the timing, and the fact that she normally carried out charitable acts during Ramadhan, Aliah began considering the best way to organise things.
“Since I couldn’t celebrate my birthday with a feast, I decided to join the volunteer programme and put myself out there. This gave me the chance to contribute to the education of the Orang Asli children and share some of my rezeki (blessings) with them.”
Aliah then walked us through how she organised this:
“This was pretty doable for me because I used to do it alone. From the moment I signed up for this programme, I already knew that I wanted to celebrate my birthday with them- and I knew where to get my supplies, like goodie bags, snacks, and boxed drinks!”
Heading straight to the shops the night before volunteering, Aliah purchased her supplies, taking into consideration factors such as the children’s food preferences and dietary requirements, as well as the weather!
The weather was also her main consideration in deciding not to bring a cake,
“…I was aware that a few of them might not be fasting, but the journey itself took an hour and a half; what if the cake melted in my car???”
The result of her efforts? 60 goodie bags were packed and ready for transport the night before her volunteer session.
Her prep and organisation paid off at the end of the day. After speaking to her group leader (Mr. Johan), and discussing with the head teacher (Ms. Elfika), the children were organised into a line where they all got a party pack each.
“There was no cake, candle, or birthday song for me… but to see all of them smiling while blowing up the balloons and making them float, and their excitement when checking out the goodie bags make me cherish the moments I had with them from morning to afternoon- it was SUPER REWARDING. I am grateful that they were happy, and nothing else matters to me.”
Sometimes, the little things in life are often forgotten. But they are here to serve as constant reminders to be thankful for all our blessings in life. Aliah’s story is one that encapsulates the pure meaning of simplicity in ways we can show care and support each other, and one that brings joy and smiles.
Every child deserves to be showered with love and kindness, and the children of Kg. Serigala surely felt all this and more, as Aliah celebrated her birthday with them.
Want to learn more about this initiative or about other opportunities to give back to the community? Visit UPLIFT (Pertubuhan Bangkit) to learn more!