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For most of us, festivities like the Chinese New Year is spent with our families. For the Chinese, the reunion dinner on Chinese New Year’s eve is the time to bond with family and relatives, some of whom we meet only once a year.

But there are some who do not go back to their homes for reunion dinners. In fact, they do not spend the festival with their families. Kids in the Hiichiikok Foundation Home For Children Care are among those who are deprived of family bonding during festives.

This is why the Hiichiikok Foundation, of which I chair the Executive Committee, goes out of its way to ensure the kids there are not robbed of the love and attention that is crucial in their growing years. It is one thing to provide a roof over their heads and put food on the table. But it is another to ensure the kids have a shoulder to cry on; a father or mother figure to look up to and are able enjoy the family warmth every kids crave for.

I think we have done a lot in this respect, largely due to our dedicated care providers and the generosity of volunteers and supporters. For example, a yoga instructor had offered free lessons to the kids at the Home to help them let go of their painful past. A psychological centre in Kuala Lumpur also offered free counselling to some children to help them cope with emotional distress.

Regular excursions are also held to broaden the children’s worldview and build character. The children, often on the receiving end of the public’s generosity, had visited an old folk’s home to spend time with the elderly and learn the important lesson that it is better to give than to receive.

Recently, the Home visited an ostrich farm in Port Dickson to expose the children to wildlife. One of the kids, Fasha Tham Ai Ying, hesitant to ride an ostrich at first, developed the courage to do so after her friends cheered her on. Those are important lessons in overcoming fear and teamwork the kids picked up outside the comfort of their Home in Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur.

So far, the efforts by the Home and its well-wishers appear to be paying off. During last year’s UPSR examinations, Tew Jia Ming scored 4As and 2Bs while G. Thayaselan scored 4Bs and 3Cs. For their efforts. the Home held a simple tea party to celebrate their success and spur other kids to excel.

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Fasha overcame her fears in the ostrich farm

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Kids learnt about the joys of giving during the visit to the old folk’s home

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Kids learning yoga at the Home

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Children helped raised funds for a temple during a charity bazar.

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