AT TAYLOR'S: Associate Professor Dr Xavier Vincent Pereira (xavier.vincent@taylors.edu.my)
PROJECT PARTNER: Pusat Jagaan Beribuan Kasih (kavima143@yahoo.com)

Project Happiness is a community outreach initiated by the Khind Starfish Foundation in partnership with Taylor’s University School of Medicine (TUSOM), Sixteen interested and dedicated medical students started preparing for the outreach by pitching a proposal  to Khind Starfish Foundation in June 2014, focusing on community service to the Pusat Jagaan Beribuan Kasih orphanage, located in Kajang, Selangor. Pusat Jagaan Beribuan Kasih is an NGO founded by Ms Kavita and her colleagues. Currently there are about 45 residents at the home, of which 25 children are children and the remainder homeless adults. There are five disabled children living there as well.

Among the many other universities that submitted, Taylor’s University’s proposal was selected over the other universities for its comprehensive and thorough approach. Khind Starfish Foundation donated RM3,500 for the project, provided that the students were able to match this donation by raising RM3,500 themselves. Not wanting to settle for the minimum, the students actively petitioned for corporate sponsers and managed to raise RM13,174 from sponsors such as Munchy’s, Julie’s, NRC 11 and various individuals too numerous to mention. In addition to the promotional assistances by the marketing team from Taylor’s University, the project’s carnival event was also publicized in local media outlets Bernama and The Star.

The main objective of this project is to improve the quality of life of the residents of the orphanage through refurbishment of the house, to help the orphans improve their intra-personal skills through a two day workshop, and to raise awareness of the public to the financial needs of the home. This financial objective was met by connecting willing givers to this needy orphanage and creating an opportunity for the founder of the orphanage to expand her platform of connections through a one day carnival. This outreach also provided an opportunity for an effective collaboration with Khind Starfish Foundation to provide support in their effort to contribute to the society, as well as impacting the larger community.

The students began by refurbishing the home with cupboards, windows, and beds. The roof and several toilets were replaced and repaired with the help of a contractor paid for by sponsored donations. A motivational talk by Dr. Vinod Lakshmikanth from the Sunway Medical Center, aimed at increasing the self-confidence and self-worth among the orphans, was part of the two workshop conducted at the home. Through this activity the children were given advice on how to improve themselves through education and extra-curricular activities. Other topics covered during the workshop were recycling, dance lessons, and music activities, a drawing and colouring competition, and various other games.

The final part of the project was a one day carnival day held at the home. A total of 32 volunteers from TUSOM helped out at the carnival and many activities such as fun-filled games, stalls selling sumptuous food and thirst quenching drinks and beautifully decorated booths were planned. Many visitors to the carnival raised RM3,805 in cash and in addition many other items were donated to the home. However, the orphanage continues to rely upon the donations of the public, and all contributions, no matter how small, are gratefully received. Kindly contact Ms. Kavima at kavima143@yahoo.com

Written by Felicia Lee Yiik Bing