In the wake of the floods that devastated Penang last month, 40 volunteers from the Japan Malaysia Technical Institute (JMTI) were on hand to help flood victims in Bukit Minyak restore their homes to their original state.

Spearheading the effort were the Welfare Bureau of the Student Council, which led the volunteers in helping the residents clean up their flood-ravaged homes. Under the supervision of the residents’ association chief, who delegated the tasks, the students worked hard to restore some semblance of normalcy to the village.

Raring to go!

According to Welfare Bureau head Nur Hanisah Dzulkiflee , many more volunteers were needed to help the villagers repair the damages caused by the floods.

However, the most pressing concern was to clean up their homes because receding floodwaters left behind mud on the floors and rubbish all over the houses, as well as in the surrounding areas. As such, the first item on the agenda was to rid the houses of dirt and rubbish to ensure hygiene.

Nur Hanisah Dzulkiflee briefing the students at the start of the programme.

“This will safeguard the villagers from water-borne diseases, such as leptospirosis or typhoid, which may affect the flood victims — especially small children and old folks, who are the most vulnerable,” said Nur Hanisah.

The visit by JMTI students was timely, following the disaster that struck the villagers — seemingly out of the blue.

For the residents’ association, apart from the work done by the volunteers, the visit also acted as a morale booster to the residents, who were not only affected financially, but emotionally as well, when they incurred substantial losses due to damages to their property and possessions. Knowing that there were good, kind-hearted people who cared really lifted their spirits and gave them hope and strength.

Volunteers making sure they do a good job cleaning.

According to Muzaffar Shah Mohd Shah, the deputy director of resource management at JMTI, it was a heartwarming experience to watch the students put forth their best effort at helping the villagers.

“At JMTI, we place great emphasis on being productive and proactive and take pride in nurturing our students to become a workforce to be reckoned with.

Residents show their appreciation with a delicious lunch.

“I am glad that the student council took the initiative to plan and carry out this voluntary exercise even though they are faced with a really tight schedule. This exercise provides them with the opportunity to not only contribute to the society, but to also improve their leadership skills and communication skills.

“In today’s programme, they proved themselves capable of being responsible citizens, apart from being productive and proactive workers in responding to the needs of the community. They certainly provide a good example to the other students,” he said.

The student volunteers hard at work.

To Nur Hanisah, the programme has made her more appreciative of life’s blessings.

“It is a humbling experience to realise how swiftly one’s worldly possessions can be taken away.

“I am glad to have this opportunity to ease the plight of the flood victims. It might not be much, but I hope I was able to make a difference.

“My mother always says that the only way to help yourself is to help others.”

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