Take a walk down one of Kuala Lumpur’s narrow streets in the older part of town, and you’ll spot children wearing little more than rags. Looking to you from behind their hands, and begging with their eyes for something to eat. It’s a tragedy that repeats all over the world.
However, you’ll also see some happy kids with positive outlooks, and a relaxed smile on their faces. Stop and ask, and you’ll learn someone is looking after them finally, and growing their future. That someone is a charity named Yayasan Chow Kit, and they need your donation for the work to continue.
The Birth of Yayasan Chow Kit Known Popularly as YCK
Yayasan Chow Kit – known popularly as YCK – was born out of a vision that came to its founder Dato Dr Hartini, and her partners Raja Azizan and Kak Arfidah in 2010. In those days their fledgling venture went by the name Nur Salam (House of Light and Peace), operating as part of NGO Yayasan Salam Malaysia.
The fledgling team’s mission was to uplift and protect the children they encountered in shabby streets, far away from tall buildings reaching for the sky in the business quarter. But they knew they needed a quiet space, where they could do their work without distraction.
Yearning For Safer Space for Poor, Marginalized Children
That space would be somewhere very poor, and marginalized children could seek refuge for a couple of hours a day. To eat, sleep safely and involve themselves in basic education and health activities mainstream kids take for granted. But they were short on donations, as is always the case with this type of work
And so founders Dato Dr Hartini, Raja Azizan and Kak Arfidah teamed up with Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, and the Wilayah Social Department. Then they tracked down corporates, NGO’s and individuals asking, even begging them to help.
They found charitable work was very different from the glamour of television and movies. It was a tough, uphill battle when they started, and the daily struggle continues. But thanks to inspiration that guided them, they succeeded. Today, Yayasan Chow Kit stands proud as a testament to that achievement.
A Day in the Life of Yayasan Chow Kit in Kuala Lumpur
Let’s imagine for a moment an underprivileged child comes to Yayasan Chow Kit for help, or they find them wandering the streets. Their first task is to understand them individually, and tailor-make their path to a new life. An assigned social worker then helps them realise their personal goals, using a holistic approach including some of these strategies:
- Support with documentation including birth certificates, citizenship, adoption, identification cards, UN refugee cards, legal processes, statelessness etc.
- Facilitating further education, from school entry through to college and university. Career guidance, assisting with study loans and liaising with teachers.
- Assistance / referrals for jobs, financial aid for families, hospital visits, counselling in various situations, family advice and foster care.
- Empowerment and support to their clients and families, training to overcome low self-esteem, assistance to overcome substance abuse and move forward.
The Dream is Coming Together With Your Help
The social fields are fertile in Malaysia for this type of work. The pandemic has disrupted many families, with children sometimes innocent victims. Loyal supporters donate regularly although this is never enough.
However, despite the obstacles, Yayasan Chow Kit is currently serving an average 131 client children on a full time basis, and helping them recreate their lives. There’s tremendous potential here. Those of us who received a head start, should remember those less fortunate. How would we have become what we are today without the upbringing we had?
But don’t take our word for it. Visit their website and share their children’s stories. Discover their successes, and imagine what your donation could do now. This is not a task for the government or the people across the street. It is somebody’s calling. That calling may be you, but only you will feel it.
Constructive Ways to Support the Yayasan Chow Kit
- Partner with them whether you are a private or public organization, or an individual giver. Fund an outreach campaign, support a student and deliver pro-bono services, sponsor textbooks and groceries, plus a whole lot more besides.
- Involve yourself in an exciting project to consolidate all their activities in a single place. At the moment they are spread out including an undisclosed safe house. Help them reach their current goal, find economies of scale and achieve more.
- Join the organization as a full-time contributor, if you have special skills, and can dedicate yourself around the clock. Some original contributors are still with Yayasan Chow Kit after over a decade, a measure of how they inspire and motivate.
# Opportunities to volunteer for active roles are suspended in accordance with Malaysian government Covid-19 measures.
Where to donate to Yayasan Chow Kit in Future
There’s no doubt in our mind this fine charity is poised on a springboard to greater things. It’s been our inspiration to watch these fine people continue with their task throughout the pandemic. We wrote this post to encourage you to donate. Imagine for a moment you are that small child, looking at you from behind their hands.
Also make sure to check out these other charities you can donate to in 2022.