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Making a Difference in the Life of Orphans

posted 30 Aug 2017, 01:10 by iConnect@ F&N   [ updated 15 Sep 2017, 01:51 ]

Unlike Doris Day’s 1956 evergreen song Que Sera Sera, which was a much beloved and frequently used response to questions from the young such as What will I be? or What Lies Ahead? today’s teenagers cannot afford a blasé approach and need a real-life plan to not just survive but succeed in the face of an increasingly competitive environment as they transition to adulthood.

The challenges are even greater for children from under privileged communities, including orphanages, in preparing for the future.

As part of the “Making A Difference” project, organized by Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd (F&NHB) in partnership with Leaderonomics, a social enterprise dedicated to transforming communities through leadership development - a total of 33 children from Sekolah Rendah Agama Serambi and from the community of Masjid Al-Ghurfan in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) were given the opportunity to experience a simulation of real life examples once they leave the home, through what is called the ‘Game of Life’- a course designed for future orphanage graduates.

Much like F&N’s previous projects with Rumah Ilham, which began back in 2015, the purpose of this initiative was to empower the young orphans with the knowledge, tools and skills needed for their independent living and successful integration into mainstream life through mentorship and teaching practical skills.

“We need to help them acquire confidence, speaking and presentation skills, teamwork attributes, planning and execution skills to become good professionals in their career. We also believe these children will teach learned skills to other underprivileged children. The objective of this program was to empower them to take their place in society,” said Ms. Cariessa Goh, F&NHB Corporate Affairs Manager.

To date, F&NHB has invested more than RM90,000 in the program which has benefitted over 40 children from the home. “We built a “Sudut Iqra” library for the children in 2009 and have continued to support the home and the children since then,” said Ms. Goh. “When we asked the children what they would prefer to take up for their program this year, they came up with the ‘Game of Life’ Project, as they wanted to share their experiences and what they have learned throughout this program with other children who have not been as privileged as them,” said Datuk Hj Hassanuddin, Founder of Rumah Ilham.

“F&NHB and I unanimously decided on executing the ‘Game of Life’ simulation offered by Leaderonomics to enable them to face what the realities of the working world has in store for them. We are grateful to F&NHB and Leaderonomics - who are teaching valuable skills to our children and are providing a safe place from the storms of life,” he added.

F&NHB hosted a graduation dinner on the 26th of August 2017 at Rumah Ilham to acknowledge the individual achievements of the children. During the graduation dinner, the children received their participation certificates while five outstanding participants were awarded with the ‘Best Leaders of 2017 Awards’ which consisted of ‘Mr. Humorous Award’, ‘Mr. Influential Award’, ‘Mr. Hardworking Award’, ‘Mr. Courageous Award’ and ‘Mr. Transformer Award’.

Seventeen-year-old Indra Marzuke bin Mohd Yusof who won the ‘Mr. Influential Award’ said the ‘Game of Life’ program gave him the opportunity to step up to the plate and to guide the rest of the participants on the best and effective way in completing a task.

“The program taught me to be more confident and bold in dealing with people and challenging situations. I am very thankful for these lessons in leadership. Without knowing how to face the outside world we won’t get far, we simply won’t be able to survive out there,” he said. Indra will be graduating from the home this year and aims to follow his father’s footsteps by becoming a police officer.

For 15-year-old Muhammad Danish Haikal bin Nordin, winner of the ‘Mr. Transformer Award’, the ‘Game of Life’ course provided practical assistance to the young participants, helping them cope with the outside world. “The program teaches us on building trusting relationships, making wise choices, and understanding life in the world outside our home through meaningful activities. Through the program, I learned to become more independent and to seize any leadership roles that come my way,” said Danish, who’s ambition is to become an architect someday.

Speaking at the dinner, Mr. Victor Wong, Activator Advisor of The Community from Leaderonomics commended the children for their unwavering efforts and commitment in the ‘Game of Life’ program. “The children thoroughly enjoyed the program and they showcased significant improvements in their level of confidence and leadership capabilities,” he said.

​Ms. Goh believes the ‘Game of Life’ managed to achieve F&NHB’s goal of enhancing the children’s self-esteem, creativity, resourcefulness and camaraderie as they worked closely together to complete difficult tasks in the program. “We intend on providing continuous guidance and support to the children. With the skills they have gained thus far, we are confident that they can build a brighter future for themselves,” she said in conclusion.