As I sat among the audience listening to the speeches at the opening of the Carnival - Food, Folks and Fun, a big fund raising event for the SivaSanta Medical Camp, organised by the Temple of Fine Arts(TFA), a few things struck me: 1) Volunteerism is much alive - hearts are 'big' and love is in their hearts 2) everyone can contribute in their own way to a worthy cause 3) commitment makes dreams come true.
I got to know the humble beginnings of this medical camp which was started by TFA's founder, His Holiness Swami Shantanand. A service that was housed in a small cabin since 1982, Klinik Derma SivaSanta, the community healthcare arm has spread its wings to better equipped premises. The urban poor/underprivileged continue to receive free services under TFA's welfare project.
A dedicated team of volunteers and doctors keeps the wheels of service a-churning through the years. Between year 2000 - 2008, it has served 58,000 patients. Volunteer doctors work from 6.30 pm - 9 pm and daily about 25 patients benefit from their selfless service.
Since 1992, the outreach has grown wider as a mobile service was started. People like the orang asli, villagers and folks in small towns who can ill afford medical attention are attended to. Up and down the country, the mobile service calls on the the doorsteps of the patients on a monthly basis. Medical camps are held in schools and community halls. Annually, there is the blood donation drive which is of immeasurable help to hospitals.
With the volunteers in full force, this Carnival hopes to raise RM400,000 to expand services to provide eyecare, gynaecological, endocrinological services and a dialysis centre. In the words of the organising chairman, 'for it to be a sanctuary of love and care for those in pain.' Noble words shining through.
Only committed dedication and selfess service by the volunteers are able to see the fruition of a community service even when the economy wanes. Most importantly, it's a service that cuts across all barriers - irrespective of race and ethnicities. This was emphasized by the FT and Urban Well-Being Minister, Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin who graced the occasion. The Hon. Minister duly congratulated the TFA for its monumental efforts of caring for 130,000 needy over the last 20 years!
I enjoyed the dances tremendously and the atmosphere of the Carnival. Variety in the entertainment, food and fun galore all point towards a successful Carnival for a good cause.
Dancers from ASWARA entertained with a lively dance Zapin Dayung
Volunteers with home-made cakes and cookies. Stall serving vegetarian delights - the public were spoilt for choices.
This was part of my lunch. Couldn't resist the poster which says' best nasi lemak in town'!