Clear goals in do-good mission

All smiles: Volunteers from the Kengkawan Project accompanying a group of little people on a trip to perform their Umrah.

PETALING JAYA: No good deed is ever too small as all acts of kindness will have an impact on the person receiving it.

This is the adage that aptly describes six lifelong friends at Kengkawan Project, a group that runs a number of do-good social initiatives.

From greeting cleaners with free breakfast at 6am to making the dreams of little people come true by sponsoring their Umrah pilgrimages, the Kengkawan Project aims to put a smile on the people’s faces.

Co-founder Faizal Mahmood said it all started in Mecca in 2013 when mango juice was given out to fellow pilgrims after being advised by famous preacher Ustaz Don to perform a good deed, no matter how small.

“When we returned to Malaysia, my wife Norhana Osman Haron and I got together with a few friends to set up a non-governmental organisation to continue doing small good deeds.

“We started with Free Breakfast Alam Flora – our first project –where we give out a free meal to Alam Flora workers once every two months. This is our seventh year now,” Faizal said.

The six friends, who have known each other for over 20 years now, also run periodical projects such as Free Breakfast Around the World, which aims to provide food to cleaners in other cities such as Jakarta, London, Mecca, Medina, Kuala Lumpur, as well as Malaysian students in New Zealand and Egypt.

“Why Free Breakfast? Because besides it being the main daily meal, it is also our way of thanking the cleaners.

“We also want to celebrate workers and uplift the spirit of Malaysian students overseas,” he said.

During the movement control order, Faizal said they distributed face masks and hand sanitisers to Alam Flora workers, and also gave out food for frontliners and the homeless.

Besides giving out free food, Kengkawan Project also has periodical programmes such as Hadith Open Mic, programmes for children and, since 2014, taking under its wings members of the At-Taqwa Home for the Poor and Orphans in Baling, Kedah.

The group’s most unforgettable moment was when the Kengkawan Project took 13 members of the Little People National Organisation of Malaysia to perform their Umrah for the first time two years ago.

“They conveyed their wishes to us and we took a year to reach our funding target.

“What made it even more special was when the project was featured in a television programme in conjunction with Maulidur Rasul on Astro Oasis, under the title Langkah Kerdil Menuju Baitullah,” said Faizal.

Faizal’s wife stopped working last year and the couple now carry out works under the Kengkawan Project on a full-time basis.

To support themselves, they have taken up part-time jobs.

Faizal said their main motivation came from the prayers of those whom they had helped, adding that they attained happiness by “making others happy”.

“We are not receiving any pay because 100% of contributions go towards our welfare projects.

“So far, all 12 members of the Kengkawan Project work voluntarily,” he said.

To raise funds for their programmes, Kengkawan Project runs some creative and innovative projects, including producing songs and organising concerts.

Faizal said proceeds from these initiatives, which have been made available on YouTube, Spotify and iTunes, all go towards sponsoring the Kengkawan Project’s charity programmes.

Faizal also shared that their long-term objective was to build a school that not only places focus on acquiring knowledge, but also self identity and valuable life skills.

“The school will also help to shape a generation of citizens who are prudent, enthusiastic and full of confidence,” he said.

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