This three-year old mother has full hands with two children diagnosed with autism and another child with learning problems. When she was introduced to the Takeout Campaign in Noveember last year, the housewife, who wanted to be known only as Mrs. Ismaliz, 41, was easier.
The initiative is led by My Inspiring Journey (MIJ), a non-profit organization which provides food for families who have lower-revenue children with special needs twice a week.MIJ Hub also offers education and programs for people between the ages of four and 30 on a daily basis.
Madam Faraliza Zainal, 50, MIJ Hub director, launched last October the campaign after some families were taught that only one meal per day would be available. Parents also struggle to look after their children, many of whom have autism and a hyperactivity disorder with care deficit.
“The kids that attend MIJ Hub – their families would have only enough for sardines and instant noodles. Other times, it would be rice, eggs and soya sauce,” she told The New Paper.
Ms. Ismaliz, one of thirty families who received food in the campaign, said: “This reduces our financial strain because it’s not cheap to buy and cook food for the five.” The only breadwinner is her husband, a chef. Iliham, 17, and Tasnim, eleven of their elders, are autistic. Hasif, nine, has problems with learning. Mrs. Ismaliz needs to keep her kids attentive, since meltdowns and tantrums are common in the house.
“It is hard for me to spend time cooking in the kitchen. Sometimes, we resort to instant food that (I can) microwave,” she said.
Her kids love food in their Jurong East apartment to make them feel special.
“The food is healthy, tastes good, and my boys are always excited to eat something that isn’t home-cooked.”
Mrs. Faraliza, who also has an autistic son, told MIJ Hub staff – many with special needs – that prepare more than 50 meals a day and have been extending assistance to families outside the MIJ Hub community.
“They are tasked with preparing and packing the food, which empowers them and ensures they have continued employment with us.
“Just because they have special needs doesn’t mean they can’t make an impact on society,” said Madam Faraliza.
Ever since, the Takeout campaign has raised Give.asia over $120,000. Potential donors may commit $40 to a family of five to provide a meal.
“It was truly an eye-opener for all of us when we delivered (the food) to the families. It is rewarding to see the smiles on the children’s faces and the gratitude from the parents,” said Madam Faraliza.
Source: The New Paper