Children in Malaysia's Pahang state came forward to bring a smile on the faces of other children who were affected by the floods last week. Pahang Girl Guides Movement started a project called 'Shoe Box Project' in which they send boxes with various gifts to the children currently placed at the relief centres.
Sometimes the boxes are distributed in person by President of the Pahang Girl Guides Movement, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, during her visits to flood relief centres. "Usually at home, we have shoe boxes which are not used, rather than being neglected and thrown away, we encourage not only the girl guide members but also school students to donate by placing the items in the boxes concerned," said Tunku Aminah, according to Malay Mail.
"Actually, even we do not know the items placed in the boxes because the students themselves placed the items directly in the shoe box," she added.
The boxes generally contain items like pencils, colouring book, personal care items, and toys and whatever the primary and secondary school students in the state can contribute. Sometimes, they also contain notes and prayers from the children.
Each year, the students contribute between 2,000 and 3,000 boxes, which are distributed to the interior areas if there is no incident of natural disaster in the country. Malaysian Armed Forces also help the authorities carry the boxes and distribute them in remote areas, reported Bernama. However, this year, due to the heavy flooding they have distributed more than 700 boxes to the flood relief centres in several districts in the state, said Tunku Aminah. She believes that these small gifts not only cheer up the recipients but also instil the spirit of caring and contributing among the students.
"Usually at the relief centres, the contributions would be given to their parents while the children only watched the contributions received," said Datin Tan Puang Leng, who introduced the idea of the 'Shoe Box Project'.
"But through this project, the children also have the opportunity to receive the donations contributed by the children themselves, and they would be able to use the items received such as colour pencils and colouring books to fill up their free time at the relief centres," she added.
More than 6,000 people were evacuated after heavy rain battered the state and triggered massive floods. A toddler had drowned near her house in Kampung Medang Hilir on 28 January. Meanwhile, 95 relief centres are operating round-the-clock to bring relief to the affected people.