For Ramadan, my sister Halimah and I decided to join two friends, Aziz and Zafrulla to help needy families in Eunos Crescent.
This year, we went door to door to give out 50 NTUC vouchers for underprivileged Muslim families to buy extra food when they broke their fast. We gave out vouchers instead of care packages because we thought it would be easier for them to get the essential groceries they needed.
That Sunday, we started at 11 am. The four of us split into two teams to look for Muslim households. Halimah and I covered from the eighth floor to twelfth floor, knocking on doors and ringing doorbells.
Some units had their doors open and so we could look inside and cheerfully ask to talk to the families.
Others had their doors closed but we could see Quranic verses pasted outside. For those, we would give a polite knock and wait to see if the door would open.
In both cases, we would introduce ourselves, where we were from (Masjid Taha of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission) and what we were doing (giving out Ramadan grocery vouchers).
Instantly, we could see their curiosity turn to smiles when they realised who these strangers at their doors were!
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Different families, different situations
We spent some time visiting the many different families in the block.
In one of the units, the father didn’t seem interested in entertaining us until he found out what we were doing. He started chatting happily with us after that.
After we left to go to the next unit, we saw him getting ready to leave his home. It seemed to us that he was preparing to go to the supermarket.
We also met an old woman who was alone when we knocked on her door. She said she felt lonely and bored because her helper was off that Sunday. She appreciated the voucher but said she was happier that we could come and visit her.
We also met a family who has a child with cerebral palsy. The mother was very welcoming and spoke very lovingly of her young son, Sayfullah. She proudly told us that he liked doing art and had entered competitions before.
She showed us some of his work and it really moved us.
We were especially thankful that we could visit this family because we had a cousin in Indonesia who was also on the spectrum. So when we saw the 18-year-old boy, it brought back memories of our time with our cousin, who has since passed away.
We shared our story with the boy’s mum and we aren’t ashamed to say that we shed some tears together.
We finally ended at 2pm, having scoured two blocks of flats and successfully gave away all 50 vouchers away to the Muslim residents there.
It was a very humbling experience for us. It is a small token from our organisation but the way the households welcomed us into their homes left us believing that they have a generous spirit even if they didn’t have much.
It was satisfying to see how a small act of service can bring such smiles and happiness to others.
Nusrat Jahan, Zara Tahir, Halimah Mahamood