Homeless community longs for simple joys this Raya


KUALA LUMPUR : The seven-year-old boy clung on playfully to the volunteer’s arm asking him if he was going to distribute food.

Yes, the volunteer said. It’s just a matter of time, he reassured.

“You’re lying,” the boy said and stuck out his tongue cheekily before running off to play with his friends.

The hyperactive child was among the many children at the Jom Sahur initiative organised by Institute Onn Ja’afar (IOJ) – for the second year running – which saw them distributing food to the homeless for Ramadan.

But for some, like Rubiah Meor Hanim, she’s already thinking about Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Specifically, she wants her two sons to experience the same joy every other child feels on the special day.


The 40-year-old dejectedly said she has no preparations for Hari Raya, let alone the fasting month.

“As long as they (her children) get to experience having new Raya clothes, new shoes and ‘kuih raya’, that’s all I ask for. I don’t want money or a house,” she told FMT.

She added that she usually dodges questions relating to Hari Raya preparations as she has no parents or siblings, just her and her two children, whom she described as her life.

“Without them (her children) I don’t know what would happen to me. I think I would have become a prostitute, frankly speaking. They are my life,” Rubiah said, as tears welled up.

“For the first day of puasa, people usually break fast with their family. But I broke fast by the side of the road.”

Rubiah said that her preparation for Hari Raya is simple.Whatever they receive from the NGOs they will make do with them.

She said that she is happy with the help given and hopes that in future more aid will be provided, especially for the children.

For Suriani Azirah Shahril, 31, Hari Raya is of little significance to her this year, especially after having lost her mother recently.

But she was grateful for the food programme held, which saw Yayasan Chow Kit (YCK) and KDU University college and IOJ sponsor their “buka puasa” meals, and Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside provide food and blankets.

She praised the volunteers for not only providing them with food, but for also mingling with the children, as they zoomed excitedly up and down the walkway asking the volunteers if they were there to bring them food.

“I hope that this initiative will be continued, not just for the fasting month,” Suriani said.

According to KDU alumni senior manager Mitchell Liong, 55 students and five lecturers took part in the handing out of the meals tonight, adding that this also helps educate and empower the students about the cause.


IOJ CEO Charles Mohan said that weekly sessions will be hosted by 40 volunteers from various universities and colleges, serving up to 370 packages of food to the homeless.


The Jom Sahur campaign will continue to take place at two locations – in front of YCK’s KL Krash Pad on Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman and at Pusat Transit Gelandang close to the Jalan Pahang roundabout (opposite Hospital Kuala Lumpur).