1 May 2019: Over RM300,000 was raised in one night to build libraries in three Orang Asli villages
The fourth instalment of the Night of a Thousand Blessings, an annual fundraising gala dinner hosted by The Budimas Charitable Foundation, transpired at The Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur on 26 April 2019.
It was graced by generous guests who didn’t go easy on their cheque books to help out the underprivileged children the Foundation looks out for. A total of RM310,000 was accumulated in the course of the evening, with individuals and corporate organisations securing 4-course dinner tables priced from RM8,000 for 10 seats. 20 authentic pieces of art, painted by the children of Budimas from Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Bangkong and Budimas Orion Home, were also auctioned off to the highest bidder as the night went on.
The creative side of the youngsters were nurtured in an art course by Anna Karina Jardin, a Filipina entrepreneur, social activist and artist promoting capacity building in children and youth as well as inter-cultural dialogues through art. Given the tools to express themselves freely, the children were inspired to project on the canvas their interpretation of love and happiness.
Other high points of the night came in the forms of children performances by sponsors of the event, Aurora Dance School and Child Aid Asia. and a unique native performance by the children of Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Bangkong, Sepang, whose children have reaped benefits from the Budimas Children Library established in their village last year.
Since its inaugural appearance in 2016, the Night of a Thousand Blessings has focused on different goals to aid the children each time. This year, the target was to finance the construction of the beneficial Budimas Children’s Libraries at Kampung Orang Asli Kolam Air Bangkung, Sepang; Kampung Orang Asli Tun Razak, Kuala Kubu; and Kampung Orang Asli Pos Manson, Cameron Highlands. These buildings come with a RM180,000 price tag a pop, inclusive of a year’s operating expenses. Each library will be stocked with 4,000 English and Bahasa Malaysia books suitable for children between three and 18 years old, overseen by a librarian selected from the respective village so that the children are more comfortable in what may be a new experience for them.
Banking on these libraries, the foundation hopes to facilitate education accessibility among the Orang Asli children, and foster their interest towards education in to greatly reduce the number of school dropouts that has been common in their community. The libraries are also seen as a weapon against illiteracy, another problem plaguing these children, and a significant contributor to the level of poverty within the Orang Asli populace.
Efforts like these are typical of the Foundation, which relies heavily on the help of the masses. Principal Officer of Budimas Anne Rajasaikaran elaborated, “Every year, we get to touch lives and make changes for the underprivileged children in our country and we did it with the support of individual donors and corporate organisations. There is no way we get to do what we do without the support of the public. I am truly happy and feel blessed to see the support shown by everyone here tonight that have purchased dinner tables as well as participated in the auction of children paintings where all the funds raised will actualise our goals.”
Her words were echoed by Chairman of Budimas Tunku Dato’ Yaacob Khyra who in his speech during the event said, “Living a life of the impoverished, without access to basic necessities, can cause lasting damage to a child, from their mental, to their physical state. With poor health and hygiene, and lack of behavioural skills, the odds are heavily stacked against them. Many will not be able to pull themselves away from this unjust cycle of poverty, even to adulthood. To help reverse the unfairness of poverty, Budimas has set three core programs on which it focuses all its energy on; Home, Food and Education.”