What do you do when you are hungry?
We go to the pantry and grab some snack to eat right?
But what if the hunger is not just for food, but also for education, for love and relationships or even hunger for a spiritual direction?
Through our work in under-served communities, we've encounted different types of hunger, especially in innocent and vulnerable children.
Last week, we had our final KidzLIFE session in PPR Sri Pantai, ending the year with a Gift Shop Day.
Throughout the year, children who have attended our program will be rewarded with point coupons for their attendance, participation and good behavior.
With these coupons, they will be able to redeem gifts which we will prepare on that day. Surprisingly on that day, the gifts we brought were almost all redeemed, unlike previous occasions when we would have to lug back half-filled bags of gifts that were not redeemed.
Why was it different this time around?
Previously, when we asked, they would say they wanted toys, balls, and accessories such as sunglasses, caps or hair bands.
This time, we sensed a certain hunger when they indicated they wanted something more educational, with books and stationary sets that will help them in school.
The team scrambled around throughout the week to search and purchase educational items such as stationary sets, colour pencils, art items, school bags and other items, for the Gift Shop Day.
To our surprise, most gifts were all redeemed within that 40 minutes session!
One thing we learned from there – there are many children out there who are hungry, not only for food but for education. Even though they are all children, toys, games and accessories were not their priority.
What they needed instead were stationary sets, colour pencils and school bags where they can use and go to school with. The excitement shown on their faces gave us a sense of hope and gave us the confidence that these children will be able to attend school next year with a heart ready to learn and do well because they now have these basic items needed for school.
This is the essence of our #GGChristmasWish initiative this year. We want to provide for the basic needs of children to stay in school – breakfast, uniforms, spectacles, bags – because we have seen so many children go to school hungry and unable to concentrate and learn, children who is ashamed to go to school with their dirty, torn uniform or bag and even children who are left behind in school because they were unaware that their eyesight needs assistance.
We believe education is the key for the under-served community to break out of the poverty cycle and education begins when these needs are met for them to stay in school.
This Christmas, you can play a part in helping these children stay in school.