31OCTQVI’s Young Entrepreneur Movement with Jiran Ria Kids
Our latest Staff Social Responsibility (SSR) was extra special. We decided on Jiran Ria once again but this time around we wanted to organise a more sustainable project. “I talked to some kids when I visited the shelter in Puchong and asked them what they wanted,” said Malisa Dass and their answer was “People to spend time with”.
That goes to show how kids’ priorities differ from adults. We’re concerned with the basic necessities while all the kids want is attention - something that costs almost nothing. So, it wasn’t all too surprising that when we brought 40 Jiran Ria kids to our office on the 28th of September 2019, the atmosphere was buzzing.
The kids’ excitement was contagious. Even the little things that most of us take for granted like pressing the lift button was an experience for them with everyone wanting a try. Our organising committee wanted to show the kids something outside of their current world, a new environment. In this case, it was our office. The goal of this SSR activity was to show them that life had many options to offer them.
Part One of our plan was to give the kids ideas to generate income for their shelter or for themselves. This would hopefully help them move on from where they currently are. “Even if we change 2% of the lives there, it would have been worth it. It is best to help them from a young age as they are more open to things. From there their perception of the world will change and in turn, change their future,” explained Malisa. Part Two will see the children selling their handmade goodies at bazaars and online via Instagram.
We divided the kids into four groups - baking, candle making, happy gift boxes, and clay art. Each group would learn and specialise in a different craft, giving the shelter more options.
Malisa was the head baker for the day. She enjoyed watching the excitement on the kids’ faces as they crowded around her. Everyone wanted to help with something and Malisa was more than happy to let them. “It is important that they feel that there are people out there who are willing to give them affection,” she explained.
Not the simplest task for kids but Namith Swarnasighe, the lead for the candle-making group, had faith. “The kids were very interested and I got a lot of support from the volunteers,” he said. “The kids became very good at it and the end product was better than expected!”
Happy Gift Boxes
Jane Prichshenko headed the Happy Gift Boxes group where gift boxes are filled with sweets and a handmade card. “Before the event, I was worried about how the children would react to the tasks, how they would share sweets that are intended for a Gift Box for another person. But in the process, I saw how they quickly joined the in and worked together in an organized manner,” she said.
Abdallah Babour took charge of the fourth craft - clay art. “It was amazing. It gave the children the opportunity to explore themselves and find out what they were good at,”he said. Clay's similarity to Plasticine saw the kids enjoying themselves while mixing the colours to create a marbled look and cutting it out into different shapes. Some made coasters while others chose to make keychains. They were taught how to make pom pom keychains as well to complement the clay ones.
Our Hopes for The Kids
We bought extra materials so that the kids will be able to continue making the crafts on their own. That was the whole point of the day, after all - to help the shelter sustain itself in the long-run. “They [the kids] have a different vision of the world, this makes their work special. I hope this SSR will help them both in self-development and at starting their own business,” shared Jane. Abdallah added, “This SSR activity was a great experience. It was full of joy and happiness and most importantly, it gave the children some hope in this life, knowing that out there, there are people who care about them and that they are not alone”.