It all started with a Facebook post about a donation drive for pre-loved traditional Malay clothes. This post went viral with over 3,000 shares, 800 likes and 700 comments.
The organisations who planned this did not expect such overwhelming support from the members of the public – they had only planned for something small.
And so – Projek Ceria Syawal, organised by Yad Al’awn and The Blade Trade Syndicate, happened on the 11 June 2018 at PPIS Student Care Centre with the support of Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura (PPIS). Meant to distribute collected preloved traditional Malay costumes to the PPIS’ beneficiaries, there were free henna designs and barbering services for them as well.
Due to the astounding support and donation from the public, the event organisers decided to open up the event for the members of the community to attend and to collect their own used traditional costumes too.
Meet The People
Yad Al’awn and The Blade Trade Syndicate are two independent organisations who started this initiative. The Blade Trade Syndicate is a group consisting of barbers from various shops in Singapore with an aim to use their skills to give back to the society, while Yad Al’awn is a female-led group that sees priority in serving the community through education and knowledge.
Both groups consist of students and working adults who take time outside their busy schedule to plan for this event. It was no easy task for any of the members due to their other commitments, but they pushed through to ensure that the event became a reality.
Since they are both independent organisations, they had to bear the full cost of the entire project. However, with the help from their family and friends, they managed not to strain themselves financially.
Having to finance the entire project on their own, I wanted to know – what made them want to do it?
Taufiq Bin Yusof, the leader of The Blade Trade Syndicate, shared a quote by Christopher McCandless that is close to his heart.
“Happiness is real only when shared.”
He firmly believes that working together with his loved ones on the project is the best way to spend time together despite everyone’s busy schedule.
As for Nur Aishah, the leader of Yad Al’awn, she realised that the cost of the preparation for Hari Raya was the most daunting thing for adults. From preparing the traditional cookies to cooking the meals for Hari Raya, all of those required a significant amount of money.
One of the most important things for Muslims here during their Eid celebration is to wear their traditional clothing, which could also be the most expensive cost most families have to bear.
Hence, she decided to call upon the help of the public to donate their used clothes to aid the PPIS beneficiaries.
“We realised that aside from Hari Raya, people do not usually wear their traditional costumes (other than religious events or weddings) and it will usually end up in the junk once they do their annual cleaning before Hari Raya. With this, we recognised that maybe someone else could have benefitted from a piece of clothing that others may not see a value in anymore.”
Most importantly, Yad Al’awn feels that it is crucial for us to look out for each other in this world. No one should be left behind, and it is their role as part of the community to help those who are in need.
“The least that we could do is to hold their hand and walk together with them on their journey.”
Yad Al’awn believes that their first charity event was a success. They were able to meet their expectations, and learnt many valuable lessons that gave them a new perspective. They also hope that it might spur new initiatives from others as well.
On the other hand, The Blade Trade Syndicate felt that their experience went well, but there are still more things that can be done and improved to ensure that the event runs smoothly in the future. They also brought up the lack of volunteers, and shared their hopes for sufficient support in the future.
Both organisations have plans to continue their efforts in contributing back to the community in the future.
Taufiq from The Blade Trade Syndicate intends to set up a non-profit social enterprise in the future to help the community. As for Yad Al’awn, the group also wants to continue their effort to help the people through education, providing support systems, and other necessary services.