More breakfast sessions for needy kids

Student volunteers sorting food to be distributed to underprivileged children in Sekolah Bimbingan Jalinan Kasih (SBJK) at Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz.

THE Jom Bekpes morning soup kitchen campaign, which involves university and college students, is increasing its sessions to almost every week as more institutions want to sponsor breakfast for underprivileged children and homeless people in Kuala Lumpur.

The campaign, organised by non-governmental organisation Institut Onn Ja’afar (IOJ), is a bimonthly event involving 40 students from different private and public universities every session, serving around 250 people at a time.

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,” said Hishammuddin.

To start, the first half of Jom Bekpes for 2018 is being sponsored by Pelaburan Mara Bhd, 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 Malaysian society,” said Pelaburan Mara Group chief executive officer Datuk Nazim Rahman.

“As a living company, we hope to build relationships with those around us,” he said.

IOJ chief executive officer Charles Mohan said IOJ started Jom Bekpes in February 2016 and it ran until the end of 2017 with 25 sessions held annually. The sessions will be increased to 33 this year.

“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,” said Charles.

The first session of the Jom Bekpes 2018 campaign took place on Wednesday 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 6am 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 held the Malaysians United Run 2017 on Nov 18 last year where sponsors and participants raised funds for the education of 50 underprivileged children for 2018," he added.

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