Thursday, July 2, 2009

No One's Too Young to Be a Peacemaker in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - No one's too young to be a peacemaker. Through collecting donations of 10 sen (a Malaysian coin), Malaysian children have proven that! Within two months, a total of RM 143,730.10 (US$ 40,700) was collected by the united effort of about 500,000 children in this southeast Asian nation.

There are many touching stories behind this campaign. Two young sisters from Muar in southern Malaysia, Amalina (age 14) and Nurul (age 11), went all out to raise donations every day from house to house in their neighborhood. They raised RM130 (US$30) within two weeks. Their mother said: “The Power of 10 Sen campaign provides my daughters a chance to learn and feel empathy for others.”

Another student, Min Yi, blogged about the Power of 10 Sen and got a group of volunteers to raise fund together. She organised a mini bake sale to raise funds and managed to fill up 30 coin boxes. She said, “The Power of 10 Sen is a great project, since it raises awareness among children that we can make a difference in the life of another child.”

The Power of 10 Sen campaign was initiated by the Universal Peace Federation of Malaysia during the Global Peace Festival in 2008. It is an initiative to promote the culture of giving and living for others especially among the younger generation. The crux of the drive is the belief that "everyone can give," even as little as 10 sen, and collectively it can make a huge difference.

The Power of 10 Sen – Gaza Dibela ("Gaza is looked after") was launched on March 9, 2009 by the honorary patron, the First Lady of Malaysia, to raise funds for the children in war-torn Gaza. Many continue to suffer the effects o poverty and malnutrition, and the situation has become critical after the recent war. This charity drive ran for two months, until May 12.

The First Lady, Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, witnessed the check handed over by Malaysian children to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, received by H.E Abdelaziz Abughoush, Ambassador of Palestine, on behalf of the children of Gaza.

“It it is part of our responsibility as global citizens to improve the quality and standard of life for children everywhere," the first lady said in an appreciation ceremony at the University of Malaya on June 24. "Much harm and abuse has been done by the adult world. These children need our help and protection. We must learn to care for them regardless of race, creed, color and nationality."

She also commended the efforts of the children in the campaign: “It is a natural part of children to see no boundaries, they are ‘color blind’ and they don’t simply discriminate others because of color or creed.”

The campaign was organized by the Universal Peace Federation of Malaysia and Malaysia Red Crescent Society, in collaboration with the National Unity and Integration Department and the University of Malaya.

Earlier, Tan Sri Zaleha Ismail, President of UPF-Malaysia, said: “Seven thousand coin boxes were distributed to 300 schools and 5,000 boxes to 1,600 kindergartens nationwide by the Malaysia Red Crescent Society and the National Unity and Integration Department.

Malaysia Red Crescent Society Chairman, Tunku Tan Sri Shahriman Tunku Sulaiman, said the funds would be used to buy schoolbags and shoes for the children in Gaza and to support a prosthetic limb project, as well as provide medical assistance to victims in Gaza.