Every act of goodness is charity – it takes a selfless act of kindness to instantly brighten up someone’s day, put a spring back into their step and even improve their lives; even if only for just a moment. From giving clothes to the homeless to dropping spare change into a donation box, charity will always be the social glue that bridges differences and holds our society together. In conjunction with Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Malaysia’s 25th year anniversary of reaching out to Malaysian children in need, a regular volunteer spoke with the Sun about his work with underprivileged children and their families.
AN ACT OF KINDNESS
Mohd. Nazril Isham Ramle, fondly known as Sham, is one of over 30 volunteers who regularly spend their time to help out at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH). Situated within the grounds of Pusat Perubatan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (PPUKM), the RMH was established in 1999 as a refuge for underprivileged paediatric patients and their families seeking medical treatment far from home. The home is staffed by a team of seven and supported by volunteers who take care of other needs including administrative tasks, maintenance work or simply spending time with the young patients.
“I’ve been a volunteer at RMH for two years now as a photographer in charge of recording the many special events and occasions that take place at the home. It is very rewarding to capture happy moments with the children and their families in what must be a very difficult time in their lives,” said Sham.
“Growing up in a close-knit family, I understand how important it is for the children to receive as much loving attention as they can get; especially if their parents are already occupied with the duty of tending to a sick child. It gives me great joy to be able to assist in any little way I can.”
When asked if he had ever developed any special bond with the children, Sham admitted that he does find it hard to say goodbye after having spent so much time with them. “Some families actually end up living in the home for up to a year at a stretch! Of course, it’s great news when the families eventually leave for home – with the children having successfully completed their treatment and on the way to recovery,” added Sham. “However, there will always be other families coming in to take their place. I think it would be great if we could rope in even more caring Malaysians to either volunteer with the home or help support RMHC’s activities via donations. Every little bit truly does help.”
CALLING ALL MALAYSIANS
Of course, volunteers like Sham are not far and few in between. In the 2014 World Giving Index – a survey by United Kingdom-based Charities Aid Foundation (CAD) measuring charitable behaviour across the world – Malaysia tied with the UK to rank 7th out of 135 countries polled. It is an achievement that bears testament to the generosity and kindness of the everyday Malaysian who will not hesitate to open their hearts, wallets or even homes to those in need.
“Charity and selflessness is truly a hallmark of our culture. This culture forms the foundation upon which the RMH was built and is the very same one that has put a roof over the heads of over 600 underprivileged children and their families seeking medical treatment far away from home here in Kuala Lumpur,” said RMH Malaysia chairman Azhari Abdul Taharim. “At RMH, volunteers like Sham are assigned to tasks that fit their skill sets and interest. There is always plenty to do around the home; children to be entertained and kept occupied, the house to be kept clean and safe – it really is great to see our volunteers and staff chipping in and helping out from the goodness of their hearts.”
In addition to individual volunteers, RMH also works with corporations who contribute as part of their corporate social responsibility. “Like every other home, there are lots of areas that will require constant assistance. For example, RMH Malaysia is the only chapter in the world to have certified nurses stationed at the home,” added Azhari. “Therefore, we welcome professionals from relevant fields including those with a nursing background to come and help put these children back on the road to recovery much faster. Ultimately, we seek to create a caring and enjoyable environment in the home that would be beneficial to both their occupants as well the volunteers.”
RMHC Malaysia is one of 300 RMHC Chapters worldwide that aim to positively impact young lives in the areas of health, education and welfare through its four core programmes – RMH-PPUKM, Ronald McDonald Sensory Room, Ronald McDonald Gift of Smile and Ronald McDonald Scholarship. Funded largely by generous Malaysians from all walks of life, these programmes are also made possible thanks to the tireless dedication of its many volunteers.