It has been more than seven months since Mama's organisation opened their charity shop. The funny thing is, the licensing authorities have categorised the shop as a boutique. So, technically it's a charity boutique. However, my Mama, always the big dreamer, has called it a mall. At the official launch of the shop, Mama has outlined the objectives of the shop. I have pasted her speech here.
Greetings - thank you Mr MC.
1. Our esteemed guests, let me continue the afternoon by telling you of a dream. A dream that will take so many years to realise, we know. That dream is to reach out to every underprivileged child in the world and tell them, "Now, you can go to school." Not just to any school but a school built by Muslim Aid. As I have said, it is going to be a long journey to reach that goal. First of all, we need money, tons of them. As most of you who have school going children will attest, education is not cheap. There's the premises, the teachers, support staff, equipment, books, and library, science lab, sports facilities etc etc etc. all of those costs heaps.
2. Thus, we decided to embark on commercial ventures that will fill our coffer fast. One of these ventures is what you're seeing today - the Wellbeing MA(A)LL. You must be wondering at the name. Such a small shop but these people at Muslim Aid are calling it a mall. And they don't even know how to spell! We'd like to say that we think BIG! Nothing is impossible.
3. This name was coined around 2006 -five years ago - when we introduced a catalogue of goods called Gifts for Life. The products in the catalogue are what you can purchase and then donate to recipients in selected countries, notably where Muslim Aid has a presence, as opposed to buying products from a catalogue for your own use. That's the wellbeing part of it. As for the special spelling of MA(A)LL, it stands for Muslim Aid Asia Life Line - in a broader sense, the products you purchase will provide a lifeline to the livelihood of many.
4. So we adopt the same principle for this shop we are launching today. All purchases from this shop will go towards giving a lifeline to the underprivileged, especially children. It is also to fulfill our dream of one day, establishing a proper school for children who are now deprived of this basic right. It is towards the Muslim Aid Education Fund that all proceeds will be channeled to. With this fund, we hope to assist more beneficiaries than what we have now.
5. What do we do with the funds we collect under MAEF? Truthfully, when it comes to education, the scope is very big. In Malaysia, we cater from pre-school kids to adults. We have provided equipment for pre-school learning of Somalian refugee kids, for the Myanmar refugee kids, we help pay their school's utility bills and take the children out on excursions. We also provided school uniforms, spectacles and even build toilets for Malaysian kids. As for adults, most of our projects deal with providing skills that can be used to improve their economic status, ranging from sewing, culinary and computer skills.
6. As you browse through the shop later, you'll see some beautiful products from Indonesia, bear in mind that these come from beneficiaries of Muslim Aid's Empowerment Programmes in Acheh and Jogjakarta. We are happy to note that two officers from Muslim Aid Indonesia are with us today, we welcome Pak Nazar and Sister Intan Maulida. At the same time, we also have some books, not the pre-loved ones, but new books on display. Most notable is Remember Allah for the Gift of Love in Our Hearts, written by Prof Dr Safiah Osman. Prof is also here today, you all can approach her for autographs. This book was published by Muslim Aid, where proceeds from its sale will go towards the education fund as well. The publishing of this book marks our foray into publishing, another commercial venture that will help enhance our income streams.
7. I am not going to talk too long now. I'll let you all visit the shop and make your own judgement. Forgive us for any shortcomings today, we'll improve the shop as days come by....God willing, God bless.