KUALA LUMPUR, October 29, 2016

All told, some 300 homeless denizens at Pusat Transit Gelandangan, underprivileged kids from nearby Chow Kit and student-volunteers from Queens College and Segi College Kuala Lumpur came together today to celebrate Deepavali.

The event, which lasted from 8.30am till 11.00am, was organised by NGO Institut Onn Ja’afar (IOJ) in collaboration with Yayasan Chow Kit (YCK) while Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur provided food and Gombak Food Delivery provided drinks.

However, from as early as 8.00am, student-volunteers had already gathered to decorate Pusat Transit Gelandangan, a one-stop centre set up by the Federal Territories Ministry for the city’s homeless to receive help and services from government agencies and NGOs.

“We at IOJ believe it is important for local tertiary students to volunteer and develop a culture of altruism,” said Institut Onn Ja’afar (IOJ) CEO Charles Mohan.

“That is why our patron, (Defence Minister) Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein came up with the “JOM BEKPES!” campaign.

“Through that we serve up to 500 packs twice a month at three locations in Kuala Lumpur with the help of student-volunteers from different local private and public universities.”

Charles pointed out that this was not the first time a JOM BEKPES! offshoot had been held at the centre as earlier this year a “JOM RAYA!” event was held on Aidilfitri at the same place, with the special guest being National Shutter Wong Choong Hann.

He also said that JOM DIWALI would not be possible without the help of the sponsors and the cooperation of the Federal Territories Ministry, City Hall, the management of Pusat Transit Gelandangan, and Yayasan Chow Kit.

When approached, Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur Marketing Communications Manager Warren Fernandez expressed his pleasure at being part of the event.

“I think it’s really touching and loving. I was touched by the joy I saw in the people who came together for the event.

“The event went perfectly,” said Warren, noting that such simple events are ‘always the best’.

However, Noor Afidah Amran, from Gombak Food Delivery’s #Prihatin movement, said she would have liked to have seen more activities at the event.

“At the same time, it was like a family event. It was very good and properly organised. I’m so happy,” she said.

Among the students who took part were Tan Suet Mun, 19, from Segi College Kuala Lumpur.

“I think it (JOM DIWALI) is meaningful for the homeless. I’m so happy that they were able to enjoy this day.

“The event was a-okay, all the way. I would volunteer again,” she said.

Segi College Computer Engineering student Ndom Clifford, 21, from Nigeria, said, “JOM DIWALI” was good and that he enjoyed it.

He also expressed interest in the traditional Indian clothing he saw worn by some of those who took part and was considering going to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman to buy a set.

Steffi Lois Sabitus, 20, from Sabah is studying for a Diploma in Pre-school Education.

“This programme is good because while I’m still studying, I have the experience of serving the community.

“There’s no harm in helping and we get to exchange stories with them (the homeless),” she said.

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