There is one thing about me that people often don’t know: I am a sucker for children. Kids make my day, anytime. Their laughter exudes pure joy, their innocence adorable. Which is why when I first heard about Yayasan Sunbeams Home, I was very happy to be able to play a part in this event.
We chose Ramadhan to do this because Ramadhan is a time for giving, and every Malaysian, regardless of race or religion, celebrates the coming of Eid. We believed it would be a good experience for the children to break fast with our Muslim colleagues, while also having fun with games and activities accompanied by Panda.
Before I continue, just a brief introduction on Yayasan Sunbeams Home: It was founded in 1995 by Pastor Alvin Tan and his late wife, who decided they wanted to help abused and neglected children of single parents. Today, it houses over a hundred boys and girls aged between 10 months and 23 years old.
So, going back to Tuesday, my colleagues and I (about 10 of us) were armed with goodie-bags for the children, balloons and our Panda suits and we made our way to the home, which is located in Ampang. As soon as we got there, the first thing we saw were their eager faces and happy smiles – they were so happy to see us! There were about 70 of them waiting for us already, and we quickly got started with our activities.
One thing is for sure though, the stars of the day were definitely our Panda mascots! We had two of them there, and the children were literally squeezing the Pandas with so much love! We asked a couple of easy questions (“What colour is Panda?” – super easy right?) and gave out goodie-bags to the first to answer these questions. It came to a point where all the kids were getting the correct answer within a second of the question, so we made them hug Panda and collect their goodie-bags!
We also had a balloon-blowing competition divided into two parts: Boys and Girls. We made the crowd choose the winner and well, you guessed it, it was happy chaos as the kids started chanting their own “winner’s” name! They were so full of energy and excitement, some of us decided to continue the activities with the entire crowd at the playground and the field, while the rest of us stayed back to wait for the food, which was being brought in by Uber (Thanks, Uber!).
We definitely had some amazing goodies lined up for them though! Some of our superstar vendors were kind enough to sponsor food for all of us who were there, including super-cool burgers, fries and soft drinks from Caliburger, sumptuous sushi sets from Sushi King, aromatic chicken briyani from Mumbai Delights and tasty fried rice from Malabar Palace, who also gave us sweet gulab jamuns!
While I was setting up the food with my colleagues, one of the boys from Yayasan Sunbeams Home came over to me and said, “Do you know what I want to become when I grow up?” I shook my head and he said, “Well, I want to become a scientist, a doctor or a weapons designer” and walked away. This was such a wake-up call to me, because I had felt so much pity for the children in the home, but then I realised that what I should be giving them is inspiration to reach for their biggest ambitions.
After our buka puasa meal, we all took a group picture and starting packing up to leave. The amount of hugs and smiles I got at the end of the day almost made me tear up. Ah, the blessings we have in life – how we take them for granted and walk past them every day…we only realise when we see those less fortunate from us. No more taking life and loved ones for granted!
If she’s not busy writing, Yogeetha is usually researching fan theories about Game of Thrones characters or having a cup of coffee in solitude. Also, she loves doughnuts as much as she loves puppies!