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Friday, 23 December 2016

Microsoft Malaysia, Hard Rock Cafe and Kechara Kitchen give back to those who have little in the spirit of Christmas

Alif Hakimi Helmi (right) and other children get a feel of the Microsoft tablet. ― Picture by Hari Anggara


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Alif Hakimi Helmi (right) and other children get a feel of the Microsoft tablet. ― Picture by Hari Anggara



KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 — On a rainy night in the city recently, some 300 homeless and destitute people had the opportunity to enjoy a spread of good food and get a feel of technology that they could only wonder about.
In one of those rare instances when “corporate social responsibility” was more than just a slogan, Microsoft Malaysia, Hard Rock Cafe and volunteers, including doctors, came together with Kechara Soup Kitchen to remind the destitute that there are those who still care.
Microsoft Malaysia brought their latest tablets and laptops to Pusat Gelandangan Medan Tuanku, a centre for the underprivileged run by Kechara.
They gave 30 children, aged two to 12, the opportunity to touch the interactive screens, play games and learn some basic computer skills.
But instead of squeals of excitement, there was only silence because many of the children were awestruck by the devices and uncertain what to do with them.
It dawned on the volunteers present that many everyday things that are being taken for granted are still alien to those without the means.
Microsoft Malaysia legal and corporate affairs director Jasmine Begum said the company hoped to expose the children to technology and give them hope for a brighter future.
“We want to bring technology to the young in marginalised communities in our effort to empower every person to achieve more,” she said.
Jasmine said Microsoft Malaysia had been supporting Kechara since 2014 by providing technology and contributing to the food bank, which serves about 600 urban poor families.
“In partnership with Kechara, we have the opportunity to teach basic coding and computer science concepts to the underserved young people in Kuala Lumpur,” she said.
Dressed in white t-shirts printed with their famous brand were staff of Hard Rock Hotel, who were busy dishing out vegetarian kurma, spring rolls and sweet and sour chicken, among others, to the crowd.
Hard Rock Cafe staff pack food with Kechara volunteers before distributing it to the homeless in conjunction with the restaurant's 25th anniversary celebration. ― Malay Mail pic
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Hard Rock Cafe staff pack food with Kechara volunteers before distributing it to the homeless in conjunction with the restaurant's 25th anniversary celebration. ― Malay Mail pic
Hard Rock Cafe assistant general manager Ranjit Singh said they had wanted to do something different to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the international brand in Malaysia.
“We could have chosen any number of ways to mark our anniversary, but we thought why not give to those who have little to celebrate, those in real need,” he said.
“The reason why we choose to collaborate with Kechara is because they are an experienced body and they fit our aim to give back to society.”
Ranjit said the proximity of the centre to their restaurant also made it easier logistically.
“This is our first event with Kechara Soup Kitchen and we are excited about it,” he said.
Among those volunteering at the event was Richard Seng, who has been Hard Rock Cafe’s head chef for almost 24 years.
“I was surprised when told we are going to feed the homeless outside the cafe, as usually, our charity programmes are held in-house but I was more than happy to cook for them all,” said Seng, who took about three hours to prepare the meal.
“It is a good feeling serving the homeless.”
Free medical check-ups were also given to those who turned up.
Among the medical personnel was Dr Durairaaj Ramachandran of Tuanku Ampuan Najihah Hospital in Kuala Pilah.
Whenever he is not on call and during the weekend, he drives more than an hour here to help in Kechara.
“I was inspired to become a volunteer with Kechara in March by my university mate who regularly posted pictures of her providing medical assistance on Facebook,” he said.
“I had always wanted to give back to the community and help the less fortunate but I did not have a platform until now.”
Dr Durairaaj said among the common ailments were respiratory tract infections, skin diseases, asthma and gastritis.
-MalayMailOnline

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