: A morning soup kitchen campaign involving university and college students is increasing its sessions as more and more institutions want to have breakfast with underprivileged children and homeless people in Kuala Lumpur.
The JOM BEKPES campaign, organised by non-government organisation Institut Onn Ja’afar (IOJ), was a bimonthly event involving 40 students from different private and public universities every session, serving around 250 people at a time.
Due to high demand, it is now going to be held almost every week.
For IOJ patron Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, it is reassuring to see the increasing enthusiasm among the youth in volunteering their time and energy for the benefit of underprivileged children and homeless people.
"We see this wave of altruism spreading across the country and Malaysia’s future looks promising because when these youth eventually become leaders, they will have developed a selfless nature and a habit of giving," says Hishammuddin.
To start, the first half of JOM BEKPES for 2018 is being sponsored by Pelaburan MARA Berhad, a financial services group and asset management company wholly-owned by Majlis Amanah Rakyat.
“JOM BEKPES is one way for Pelaburan MARA to show our care and concern for every level of the Malaysian society.
“As a living company, we hope to build relationship with those around us,” says Pelaburan MARA Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Nazim Rahman.
IOJ CEO Charles Mohan says IOJ started JOM BEKPES in February 2016 and till the end of 2017 there were around 25 sessions annually but they had to increase the sessions to 33 for 2018.
“Following guidelines mooted by local authorities, we also opted to move the campaign off the streets and prioritise helping underprivileged children and homeless people at a half-way house set up by the Federal Government,” says Charles.
The first session of the JOM BEKPES 2018 campaign took place this morning as students from Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare College had breakfast with underprivileged children and homeless people around Chow Kit.
The students arrived at IOJ’s Volunteer Centre as early as 6.00am before heading out to Sekolah Bimbingan Jalinan Kasih, Yayasan Chow Kit’s Pusat Aktiviti Kanak-kanak and KL Krash Pad, and Pusat Transit Gelandangan.
After just over an hour of having breakfast and interacting with underprivileged children, including stateless and refugee children, and homeless people, they headed back to campus for their morning classes.
“IOJ will continue to focus on underprivileged children in 2018. We also held the Malaysians United Run 2017 on November 18 last year where sponsors and 40,000 participants raised funds for the education and care of 50 cases of underprivileged children for 2018.
“IOJ will be monitoring these cases and sharing updates from time to time in order to update stakeholders on how the funds are being channelled and on the efforts of our volunteers and committees from local private and public universities who are managing the cases,” says Charles.