TUNE IN: Radio Television Malaysia picks a children’s shelter for its annual Hari Raya open house coverage on government-aided homes
JOHOR BARU: RAYA came early for the young residents of the Sinar Juita Children's Shelter in Johor Baru when their home was selected for the Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) talk show, Apa Kata Wanita, Rumah Terbuka Bersama Juita.
This is the fourth show in the RTM series where government-aided homes in various states are featured in a special Hari Raya Open House programme to be screened on the first day of Hari Raya.
In the past, RTM featured homes in Kedah and Perlis before moving to Malacca. Now, it's Johor's turn.
Having worked with Professor Datin Paduka Dr Jamilah Ariffin, the wife of Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and president of Juita, for previous segments of the talk show, Zamzarina Zambri, the host and executive producer of Apa Kata Wanita is aware of the comprehensive work by Juita, which is actively involved in community welfare projects for women and children in the state.
Officially launched in 1994, Juita, the acronym for Badan Amal Tenaga Isteri Wakil-Wakil Rakyat Negeri Johor, has implemented 14 welfare projects to help single mothers and children under "smart partnerships" with state Departments, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.
The Sinar Juita Children's Shelter is for abused children and abandoned babies.
It was established under the third Juita-Ku Sayang project to house children while they waited for court proceedings and decisions.
In May 1999, the Sinar Juita building was completed at a cost of more than RM2.5 million.
It can accommodate up to 40 children at any one time.
Since its inception, over 800 abandoned babies and abused children aged below 12 have received counselling and comfort in this safe home to help them deal with the traumatic experiences in their lives.
There was naturally a flurry of excitement when staff and residents of Sinar Juita learnt that they will be featured in a television show.
Weeks before the crew was scheduled to arrive, the staff took the children shopping for Raya clothes.
The annual shopping spree for the children was a little earlier than usual, but the thrill in receiving their new shoes, baju kurung and baju Melayu, complete with songkok for the boys and tudung for the girls, simply escalated because they knew they were going to be in front of cameras.
Over three days in separate recording sessions, the children delighted in looking smart in their Raya clothes, and having their pre-Raya activities filmed by a camera crew.
The annual Sinar Juita Ramadan celebration started with a tahlil or prayer session in the neighbouring Ar Rahmah Surau.
This was followed by the breaking of fast with a specially catered dinner with Jamilah, Juita members and Sinar Juita children and staff.
After the meal, the children presented nasyid or religious songs.
Then a birthday celebration was held for children born in July. Every child received a goodie bag of snacks.
The compound of Sinar Juita was lit up with oil lamps and lighting for the festive season.
Children had a fun time playing with sparklers before eating delicious cake and ice-cream.
For many of the children, Sinar Juita is the only home they know.
They address female staff as ibu (mother) and respectfully call Jamilah, "Ibu Datin Professor".
"We are honoured to work with Jamilah, who made us feel welcome," said Zamzarina.
"This is by far the best show we did on the open house series by government-aided homes," she added.
Viewers of the show can look forward to enjoying performances by special artistes from Juita's Community-Based Rehabilitation Centres (PDK), the first project under the Juita-Ku Sayang series of projects for mentally-challenged children.
Among the performers in the variety show are Mohd Fadzli Rosli from PDK Kota Tinggi, Fauziah Hashim from PDK Bukit Besar, guest artiste Nash, zapin dancers from SRK Sri Melati, folk songs by Orang Asli Seletar children, and ghazal and music by the Johor Heritage Foundation's Malay orchestra.
"The commitment of Jamilah, and the participation of the Johor Menteri Besar, made this TV show a successful and memorable one," said programme producer, Nik Ramzi Nik Hassan.
"With all the Raya goodies, and the dancing and singing by guest artistes and the special people, viewers of Juita's open house are going to have a great treat," he said.
As they went about their work, the RTM crew was impressed by how Juita staff cared for children who suffered traumatic experiences in a loving manner, and the way Hari Raya is celebrated with them.
In this way, the children are shown how much they are valued.
Remember to catch the show on TV1 Channel from 3pm to 4pm.