BUKIT MERTAJAM: When he was seven years old, Chua Sui Hau saw some of his classmates cry because they had no money to buy exercise books.
So he used his lunch money to get the books for them.
And after Chua earned a diploma in marketing, his job as a sales executive exposed him to the less fortunate.
When he turned 27 in 2002, he founded One Hope Charity and Welfare Berhad, a non-profit organisation that helps the poor overcome disasters and illnesses.
It was tough in the beginning, he recalled.
“Nobody believed me. People told me it was impossible to raise money for the poor each month. There were disputes and criticisms.
“Hardly anyone would donate, so I gave away a large part of my own salary. About RM2,000 a month,” said Chua, now 42.
He kept going. Today, the One Hope Charity and Welfare Facebook page shows how warm and kind Malaysians can be.
When someone with a dire medical emergency is highlighted, for instance, hundreds of people would send money and photograph the deposit slips as proof.
Many of them could only afford to donate RM15, RM20 or RM50.
“But even those who send just RM1 are welcomed. Every little bit helps.
“We even give out as little as RM20 for those who need to buy medicine.
“Sometimes we get calls from hospitals to help patients pay their bills. We pay the hospitals directly,” said Chua.
He said that the charity had given out more than RM7mil to over 10,000 recipients from all backgrounds and creed.
For instance, about RM2.08mil was given out last year.
The largest single donation, he said, was RM500,000, given to a 37-year-old woman who suffered a brain haemorrhage while travelling in Taiwan last year.
“She was near death and desperately needed multiple surgeries before she could be brought home,” said Chua.
Volunteer group members visit the homes of recipients to check on them. They also collect basic necessities and groceries to be given to welfare homes.
“We organise free health checks for the poor. We have given out over 500 spectacles to students,” said Chua.
His hope now is to set up an old folks home and a dialysis centre.
The charity has also given RM3,000 each to Liang Xin Le, 13, and R. Puvarasee, 15.
They both suffer from scoliosis and need surgery to correct their abnormally curved spines. Each girl will need RM30,000 for the operation.
Those who wish to help the girls can contact One Hope Charity and Welfare at 04-505 9800 or 016-419 2192.