Humanitarian aid brings cheer to pupils

Zawahir and Ng (standing back row – seventh and fifth left, respectively) join Masni (standing back row, 10th left) and her charges in a group photo after the presentation ceremony.

KUCHING: Humanitarian non-governmental organisation (NGO), Islamic Aid Malaysia (IAM) and Etiqa Insurans & Takaful are bringing back their joint ‘Back to School’ programme this year, with Sarawak being its fourth nationwide leg.

This time around, it benefits 117 pupils of SK Salak and also 84 primary schoolchildren from Kampung Kudei here.

This year marks the eighth anniversary of the programme, which sets out to help schoolchildren from underprivileged households around the country.

According to IAM president Zawahir Abdullah, this year the NGO and its corporate partner Etiqa Insurans & Takaful are providing each pupil with two sets of school uniforms, two pairs of school shoes and socks, as well as a schoolbag.

“This programme is meant to alleviate the burden off the parents of 1,600 primary schoolchildren from all across Malaysia, in preparation for them to enter the new school term in 2019.

“Prior to coming here, we presented the ‘Back to School’ items to the children in Kelantan, Johor and Pahang just recently.

“This aid is also a part of Etiqa Insurans & Takaful’s corporate ‘zakat’ (tithe) responsibility,” he told reporters after the presentation at SK Salak near here yesterday, where Etiqa Insurans & Takaful Kuching branch manager Sylvester Ng Chuon Hock and SK Salak headmistress Masni Bujang were also present.

Zawahir said the next leg would be in Kedah, followed by Pulau Pinang and Perak, before concluding in Sabah.

Additionally, IAM and Etiqa Insurans & Takaful also presented cash and essential items to poor local families under their ‘Jejak Prihatin 2018’ programme.

For the Sarawak leg, the recipients were 220 families from Kampung Salak, and 30 from Kampung Kudei.

“We observe that the majority of the villagers (in Kampung Salak) are fishermen and smallholding farmers.

“We hope that our donations – comprising daily necessities like rice, sugar, flour, milk, cooking oil and canned foods – would be of help to them.

“The recipients comprise the hardcore poor families including those where the single mothers are the sole breadwinners, senior citizens who have nobody to care for them, and also the OKUs (individuals with special needs),” said Zawahir.

Meanwhile, Ng said these humanitarian programmes are run under the purview of Etiqa Insurans & Takaful’s Corporate and Syariah Unit.

“We feel blessed to be able to contribute to those in need – thanks to our engagement with IAM.

“As we have said before, Etiqa’s contribution to IAM is a part of our annual ‘zakat’ channelled directly to genuinely-acknowledged charity and welfare institutions, to ensure that only those who qualify for such aid would receive it.

“In reciprocation, Etiqa puts its trust in reputable and responsible NGOs like IAM in implementing these humanitarian programmes,” he said.

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