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Monday September 16, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday September 16, 2013 MYT 8:16:53 AM
by rouwen lin
Personalised message: The Happy Library In A Box programme sets out to collect books and toys for underprivileged children living in villages in Sabah and Sarawak.
The Happy Library In A Box programme helps you get those books, toys and postcards to children in faraway villages.
DEEP in the remote areas of Sabah and Sarawak live people who have limited access to education and the kind of entertainment that city folks are familiar with. It is no easy feat to get to their homes. But if you can’t get to them, then perhaps you can think of other ways to reach out to them.
The folks at PeopleGiving are doing just that.
In partnership with non-governmental organisation Living Hope Malaysia, they have come up with the Happy Library In A Box programme to bring a bit of love and joy to underprivileged children.
This is a year-long project where books and toys are collected in custom-made the “treehouses” set up in various locations around Klang Valley.
The programme kicked off with its first treehouse at Menara Manulife in Kuala Lumpur, followed by Hong Leong Assurance in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, and most recently Menara Prudential in Kuala Lumpur in July and August. The fourth “treehouse” is scheduled to be up next month at a different location.
After a month at the initial location, each treehouse will be relocated to 1Utama shopping mall in Petaling Jaya for a week.
At the end of the collection period, the books and toys will be sent to Sabah and Sarawak where they will be distributed to orang asli villages.
Living Hope will take care of the logistics of this leg of the programme. They have identified 66 orang asli villages that will benefit from the collection.
“The Happy Library In A Box is the first offline project that PeopleGiving has embarked on. The concept is to model these treehouses after our idea of what an Orang Asli home might look like, so it will feel a little like you are donating ‘directly’ to the orang asli when you put the books and toys into these treehouses,” says PeopleGiving marketing vice president and co-founder Teoh Chie Lean.
To that end, the aesthetics of the treehouses revolve around a rustic theme; some even come complete with an attap roof or windows made out of wire mesh.
Mounted on wheels for portability, the wooden treehouses are sandpapered after the paint job for a gritty, rugged effect.
“We wanted to make the treehouse look a bit ‘recycled’ and very rustic. We ended up using lots of wire mesh so there are lots of openings and you can peek into the house to see how many books and toys have been donated,” explains Jasmynn Hong, one of the three interior designers in charge of the house designs. (The other two are Michelle Tan and Tess Soh.)
She also relates that the carpenter they worked with had to travel all the way to Sungai Buloh to source for material for the attap roof.
“The carpenter and his team had about two weeks to build a house, and then we (the interior designers) went to his factory to help out with the painting. We’ve found it really exciting to work on this project,” says Hong, sharing that weekends have become treehouse time for the trio.
Interestingly, PeopleGiving have also thought of how to squeeze out a little more use and love out of these treehouses. After the books and toys are taken out for distribution to the villages, each treehouse will be modified to be a playhouse for children.
“We will remove the wheels, strengthen the base and make any other changes as we see fit, to make it suitable and safe for children to play in,” says Hong.
The houses will then be donated to orphanages in the Klang Valley.
To add a personal touch to the gifts for the children, donors can write messages on postcards provided by PeopleGiving.
“So far, we’ve found that there are more people who are donating books and toys than those who write messages for the kids on the postcards. I think one of the reasons is that they are stumped as to what message to write,” says Chie Lean.
Maybe what works best is something from the heart.
“I remember there was a girl who dropped off her toys and wrote on a postcard, ‘Please take care of my toys’!”
Visit www.facebook.com/peoplegiving or www.peoplegiving.org for updates.
Joining hands for a good cause
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Lifestyle, people giving, volunteer, happy library, tree house
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