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Salmah, 35, is a single mother. She has 3 children aged between 2 and 6 years old. Her husband, who was a factory worker, passed away a year ago in a tragic accident. His motorcycle collided into a trailer. Since then, Salmah has to shoulder the responsibility of being the breadwinner of the family. She cannot afford the cost of sending her young children to the nursery in order to work. Her livelihood depends on the RM300 monthly welfare assistance received from the Social Welfare Department, and the unfixed wages that she earns from odd jobs like washing and ironing clothes. This has never been enough to feed the family. The next couple of years would pose more challenges as her eldest son is due to start schooling next year. Salmah is among one of the 400 single mothers and poor families who gathered at Dewan Millenium, Kepala Batas, on 22 January 2011, to seek guidance and assistance to alleviate their respective living conditions.
This was the first ever charity programme organised by the Division of Industry and Community Network, School of Distance Education (SDE), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), also best known as BJIM PPPJJ. This programme was organised by Dr Zarina Md Nor and her committee members from the School of Distance Education and School of Communication. Launched by the Dean of SDE, Associate Professor Dr. Habibah Hj Lateh, with the following theme, “Universiti Prihatin, Masyarakat Terbela”. It shows USM as a caring institution in the larger context of the community.
The main objective of this charity programme is to help specific target groups – (single mothers and needy families, selected by Persatuan Delima Kasih, Pulau Pinang) - to receive first hand information regarding the assistance and services provided by relevant agencies. The agencies involved are Welfare Department, Pusat Urus Zakat (PUZ), Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) and Federal Development Office.
Among the activities mentioned include free health screening and consultation from Pusat Sejahtera and Advanced Medical and Dental Institute from USM, Transkrian. Meanwhile, on the entertainment side, games such as Magic Show and Colouring Contest were held to cater for the children. Most importantly, the expenses for this programme were fully sponsored by donation from the public, staffs and lecturers, and members of the society and industry. The programme was successful because of the co-operation from many quarters including the volunteers.
This first charity programme is a catalyst for future programmes. It is hoped that the plight of disadvantaged groups will be given appropriate attention. Therefore, contributions in the form of money and or any other items are open throughout the year.
Recent social and egalitarian movements, and more so an increasing dependence on the public purse for their operations, are now compelling universities to display a stronger commitment to the welfare ...
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