I saw this the other day as I drove past a hospital.
A man in his 50s helped a frail-looking middle-aged woman on a wheelchair (his wife, may be?) to get on a ‘Bajaj’, this three-wheeled public transport in Jakarta.
He folded the wheelchair and slowly placed it in the narrow and cramped ‘backseat’. Hardly any space for the woman’s legs.
Then, he himself went to sit ‘in front’, sharing the tiny driver seat meant only for the Bajaj driver.
Frankly, I’ve never seen such a sight before.
Within a second, these two thoughts crossed my mind:
> If everyone could ‘choose’, I assume NOBODY would want to ride a cramped, super ‘shaky’ and hot Bajaj home from a hospital.
> What a helpful Bajaj driver! The front area was meant for just one person, but he willingly took on these passengers, knowing that he had to share his tiny seat with the man!
(Seriously, if you’ve been on a Bajaj before, you know what I mean)
What I saw the other day got me thinking:
Nobody wants to be sick *obviously*
Nobody wants their loved ones to be sick too.
But the reality is, ‘everyone COULD fall sick’, and especially for those in Indonesia, millions of people do NOT have the privilege of having a cleaner home, acceptable hospital facilities, nor enough finance to cover for basic treatments of specific terminal illnesses.
Many simply don’t have access to them.
Sigh. You see, this is the reality for many, MANY people in Indonesia.
And as I often shared in my blog, (sadly) there is minimal facilities available (free and good ones) for families with children.
I mean, I truly can’t imagine how super tough things would be for me, if let’s say, one my kids are really sick (this alone is a heart-breaking, draining and tough phase to go through!) and I could only afford to take a Bajaj every time all of us visit the hospital for regular treatments =(
Having said that though, the other day I saw something encouraging.
I saw how Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is running this ‘Stripes for Love‘ global campaign to help sick children ‘heal faster through love’.
I read on and found out that :
> Basically, RMHC is a non-profit organisation and it is NOT at all the same as McDonald’s the restaurant
> RMHC aims to create, discover and support programs that will directly increase children’s well-being and health, wherever they are.
> In Jakarta, RMHC has apparently built this ‘Family Room’ in 2012 at a government hospital (Rumah Sakit Cipto Mangunkusumo), with a hope to:
- provide better facilities and togetherness amongst families with sick children, so the children feel better and hopefully heal faster
- encourage (physically and emotionally) exhausted parents who need to care for their sick children everyday, and accompany them during regular treatments
(If you’ve been to government hospitals in Indonesia, you’d totally know what I mean when I say there’s MINIMAL (read: nearly zero) facilities available for families with sick children!)
So I thought, okay, let’s do this!
Let’s support the cause!
We found out that to raise funds, they sell 2 things, at McDonald’s outlets:
1) This cute ‘Love Bear’
Selling price: Rp75,000 nett
(Btw, this ‘Love Bear’ comes with a special pen that you can use to draw and write encouraging notes on the bear. Children are then encouraged to give the bear – with the encouraging notes – to the children in the Family Room)
2) Shirts, selling at Rp55,000 nett each
Now wait, what does ‘Stripes for Love’ mean, you may wonder.
This is the specific theme of the charity drive in Indonesia, ie. The lines represent the children’s life line.
When children are sick (due to cancer or other illnesses), they spend so much of their childhood at the hospital.
And as this is something they must go through, RMHC aims to add : Love, Joy, Hope and Smile to their lives.
Hence, those words are on the shirts.
I thought it was a beautifully encouraging.
The shirts come in adults and children sizes. And in two colours: red and white.
At the McDonald’s outlet we went to, they only had Extra Large sizes available for kids.
Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large sizes are still available for adults.
And for each T-Shirt colour, you can choose which of the four words you’d like to have on it.
And so we ended up buying four shirts – two whites, two reds – with the four words on them, hehe.
Joy. Love. Hope. Smile.
(No smaller-sized shirts for Brie, and she insisted on wearing the smallest one, and it looked more like a dress on her =)
Glad that our kids get to learn about this charity drive and be ‘involved’.
We feel as their parents, it’s so important for them to realise that millions of other children do not have the same opportunities (or good health) as our children do.
And this is something that we as a family choose to support, willingly.
(And I hope more and more families contribute and support too)
The day after we got our shirts, I took Brie to the government hospital where they have their ‘one and only Family Room’ in Indonesia.
I mean, since it’s not THAT far away, and if I could see what I’m supporting, it’d be even better!
(The two of us went when Anya and Vai were at school)
It was my first time ever visiting this hospital.
I parked near Lobby C and walked quite a looong way towards the Radio Therapy Department where the Family Room is located.
Btw, as I walked past the long hospital corridors, I must say, the feeling was all gloomy and everything was just … serious.
No wonder our 3yo Brie shrieked in excitement when she saw this signage! Haha.
She was like, ‘Mommy! Mommy!! Look!! Let’s go in and see!!’
Yes, it was nice to finally see some HAPPY COLOURS at a government hospital here in Indonesia! =)
As we walked into the room, I was pleasantly surprised!
I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we saw this … say, back in Singapore.
But for this to EXIST in a government hospital in Jakarta, it was really, REALLY nice!
Ah. Even I felt very happy! =)
Check out the books!
And the toys!
(Being a Mom myself, I’m happy to say that they’re all of GOOD quality! Which again is very, VERY hard to find in any free ‘children places’ like this here)
There’s a ‘kitchen’ corner where parents can grab some snacks, and make some tea or coffee for themselves.
Children can too have some boxed drinks or milk. All freely provided by the Family Room.
And guess what?
Brie found a friend! =D
Nelly is about the same age as hers, and she has cancer, which means Nelly needs to repeatedly (VERY often!) come for therapies at the hospital!
Really, we all could see how Nelly was just SO happy playing away there in the Family Room while her mom sat nearby.
Nelly was chatty and cheerful, just like any other happy 3-year-old girl would be!
As I sat there and observed the children (busily playing with the toys), I spoke with one of the parents there. She shared how her 4yo son is undergoing treatments due to a tumor on his left eye.
I thought, an eye tumor on a 4-year-old?
Anyway, I listened on.
She shared how her son has a series of 12 treatments at the hospital, and they’re there for the 4th treatment.
She also said, when she watched her son play and make new friends there at the Family Room, it’s such an encouragement.
It keeps them going!
*May God help these parents and children and give them hope, always*
I met the staff of RMHC too who happened to be there that day (usually there’s always one who stays at the Family Room throughout its opening hours)
And how nice it was to hear from them about their future hopes to build more facilities for families and children.
I mean, THIS is what we need.
And I’m glad to see that Ronald McDonald House Charities is contributing something positive for families with children here in Indonesia.
(Btw, the Family Room is open on weekdays, from 9am to 4pm. They regularly bring children there, ie. Those who stay at the hospital as well as out-patients)
Brie herself had so much fun in the Family Room that she REFUSED to go home!
There was so many things to play with, she said.
And when we finally managed to leave (with tears in her eyes), she asked, ‘Mommy, can we please come back and play again there tomorrow?’
Inside I felt blessed to see such a Family Room is available at the hospital for other children like Brie.
These children may be down with serious illnesses, and their parents may be feeling discouraged or simply feeling exhausted from the endless treatments and doctor visits, but these children can at least do what children do best, … they can happily play, even for just a moment.
As for the parents?
They too can have some rest at the Family Room. They can sit back, and hopefully be re-charged and encouraged too, especially when they see how their little ones enjoy themselves, just being normal little children, there.
Anyway, here’s wishing them all speedy recovery and extra strength from above!
Do check out their websites for more info on how you too can contribute and support this cause yeah!
Stripes for Love: www.stripesforlove.com
Ronald McDonald House Charities: www.rmhc.or.id
All I’d say is, the benefits are real and they go straight to the children and their families.
And what else can you do to support?
Two other things =)
1. Send your motivational greetings and wishes to these children.
Simply go to www.stripesforlove.com and leave your messages there!
2. Come on over to any McDonald’s Restaurants across Jakarta on Wednesday, 15 October 2014 in your ‘Stripes for Love’ shirts!
Share photos of you wearing the shirt and show your support for these kids.
I know I will =D
Have a great week ahead, everyone!