Sunday, June 6, 2010

Big help from the Malaysian community

A Friend of Tembari Children

THE big news was spilled to me by Mussi*, a Malaysian lady acquaintance who works at the RH (PNG) Group on Saturday night (May 29), during which the Malaysian community of PNG held a fundraising function at the Grand Palace restaurant.

I met her on the steps leading to the dining hall and was surprised to see her in Malaysian traditional attire.

“What’s up…?” I asked her as I looked with pleasure at her Malaysian dress, much unaware that there was going to be a fundraising event that night.

My housemate Nara, himself a Malaysian, said somebody had invited us to dinner. I thought that it would just be some sort of dinner-chitchat for a circle of four to five friends. It was not.

She told me: “Freddie, the Tembari kids will be receiving some funds from the Malaysian Business Council Charity Golf and the Malaysian Association of PNG.”

“Ivan Lu said the Tembari Children Care will get some funding …” she added.

In excitement, I had wanted to ask, well almost: How much would it be?

But I restrained myself, feeling that asking would be inappropriate. So I just killed myself with suspense.

For all you know, Ivan is chairman of the organizing committee of the association’s fundraiser and of course, a top gun at RH Group.

I can’t believe what Mussi just told me, considering that RH Foundation and he (Ivan) himself, in his personal capacity, are now actively supporting the Center.

Until that moment, I did not occur to me that he would continue to find ways to further help our struggling daycare/orphanage.

But hearing the news, I knew I was dead wrong.

“Oh… thanks a lot for the great news… our kids need a lot of help and things and we are struggling to provide them with those … whatever amount that will come to us is always great help …” I told her.

Just a few minutes after that brief encounter, my boss at The National newspaper, executive director SF Yong, casually told me while we were trying to settle at the dining table that had been assigned to us:

“Your Tembari kids will get some grants from the Malaysian community …” SF said, and asked me how our kids are doing.

So, it’s confirmed!!!

Inside my head, I had speculated that the Center would be getting at least a thousand kina-grant, which was fine.

As I have said earlier, any amount that comes around would be great, as it would relieve us of the many little things that the Center needs day in, day out.

A few minutes ago, however, I happened to read the page proof of a whole joint page advertisement placed with The National by the Malaysian Association of PNG and the Malaysian Business Council (MBC) announcing the beneficiaries of funds raised from various Malaysian donor-companies and individuals.

Among the few beneficiary groups led by the Port Moresby General Hospital and the PNG Children’s Foundation, was the Tembari Children Care (Inc). The Malaysian community was giving a total of more than half million kina to these beneficiaries.

And the Tembari Children Care (TCC) is going to receive a cool K15,000!

It was something great for us, since the grant beneficiaries are all big players in PNG’s charity community, save for TCC, which is virtually unknown to fund-giving entities.

Seeing the amount printed in the paid ad, I immediately called Hayward Sagembo, Co-Founder and Director of Tembari Children, to break to him the great news.

All along, since late last year, Hayward has been wishing for some groups or individuals who would be able to assist the center with funding of that amount. But his request for funding assistance from traditional sources had been ignored, for one reason or the other.

When I decided to help the Center last January, I told Hayward I would join hands with Rishabh, Penny and Hayward in trying to look for people or entities that could provide such assistance. So far, we have been lucky enough on this task.

On that night, Hayward’s wish materialized, in the amount of K15,000, courtesy of the kindhearted people from the Malaysian community of PNG.

With the amount, we would be able to acquire a lot of things for the Center, materials and facilities which would help improve the lives of our 83 beneficiary-children.

For instance, the Center has no water facilities of its own as of this time, no source of electricity with which to run vital tools and gadgets needed in the day to day operations of the daycare/orphanage.

Hopefully, the K15,000 grant from the Malaysian community would pave the way for us to gradually acquire those basic facilities.

In the meantime, we all at TCC personally thank Ivan Lu, Nathan Ho and the Malaysian community in PNG for finding this rare opportunity to help the Tembari chidlren.

We heartily pray this is not the last of it.

*A few days later, Mussi quit his job at RH Group, but is still actively involved with the charitable endeavours of the Malaysian Association of PNG and has committed to help the Tembari children in her personal capacity.

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