One happy family: Parinam sharing a tender moment with the children in the shelter in Taman Tasik Titiwangsa.
KUALA LUMPUR: Hari Raya is usually celebrated as a family and for some, a surrogate family is just as good.
Senior citizen Parinam Muhamad Ali has been celebrating the first day of Raya with the other residents of the Titian Kaseh Shelter House for the past three years.
“This is my family now so I am happy to be able to celebrate with them,” said Parinam, fondly called “nenek” (grandma) by the other residents.
She said she would like to celebrate Raya with her real family but that is no longer possible.
“At first it was upsetting but now I have accepted my circumstances,” said the 82-year-old.
She enjoys the company of the other residents at the shelter which houses abandoned old folk, orphans and single mothers.
“I used to be a nanny in the past, so I enjoy the company of the children here,” Parinam said. She said Ramadan and Hari Raya were among the busiest times at the shelter.
“We get invited to a lot of events. I even got a new baju kurung for Raya at an event organised by one of the shelter’s sponsors,” Parinam said with a smile.
Every year she helps with the cleaning before the celebrations.
“Cooking is done by the helpers so I contribute by making the shelter look nice,” she said.
Parinam, who came from Indonesia, is a naturalised Malaysian citizen after having lived here for more than 40 years.
Another resident, Habsah Daud, said that enjoying the Raya festivities at the shelter was better than celebrating alone.
“Here, there are fellow residents around on the first day of Hari Raya,” said Habsah whose husband and child have passed away.
The founder and manager of the shelter, Sharifah Adlan, said that every year she and her helpers try to create a festive atmosphere for the residents.
“We have sponsors who make donations so that the residents can buy new clothes and receive duit raya,” she said.
“The children are especially excited when it comes to shopping for Hari Raya. They have been fasting so they see this as a treat.”