“Family give up ski trip to help orphans in Medan” in the Straits Times Dec 10 2004, …. This was truly an encouraging headline for our kids to read.
The first family involvement of doing something for Charity was for Mercy Relief in 2004. It was an idea initiated by a close family friend, Mr Zulkifli Baharuddin, who was then Chairman of the Board in the organization. Mercy Relief was a non-governmental humanitarian organization that served the less fortunate and needy, irregardless of country, culture or creed.
At that time, the organization had teams working on the orphanages in Medan. We immediately accepted the challenge of sending our 3 older children (aged 14,16 and 17) to assist in the refurbishment of two orphanages which were in the worst condition you could imagine. The children in the orphanage had slept on bug infested beds, lived with poor sanitary conditions and the entire building was rather dilapidated.
These trips were self-funded. Our children raised additional funds for the orphanages by organizing their own concert “Songs For Sumatera”. Family and friends were invited to the concert staged in Mercy Relief’s premises. Their performance raised some $12,500 all of which was pledged to the refurbishment of the orphanage.
I am very grateful that relatives and family friends had a big heart for the needy. Their encouragement given through their support went a long way, not only to the little orphans in Medan but also to our kids who were excited that their voices could be used for a good cause. This event served as a foundaion for them to be involved in future charity events.
Said Sheryl, our second daughter, “I will use the gift God has given me…my VOICE… as an instrument to do good for others.”
This trip was definitely very enriching for our girls. It opened their eyes and minds seeing the poor living conditions that the less fortunate had to endure. It gave them a sense of value to the comfort they have back home, the opportunities they have been given and most of all, the love and support from people around them.