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Projek Kurma: “Setitis Kasih, Seluas Samudera”


Assalamualaikum and hello readers!

Before I started my undergraduate life, I always imagined the life of an overseas student to be based on two things: study and travel (okay fine, let’s also include the constant cravings for Malaysian food). But as I almost reach the end of my first year of degree, I realised that it’s much more than that and studying in a country like Turkey, there are countless of opportunities available to participate in humanitarian and charity work. Due to the unfortunate injustices in nearby warzones especially Syria, there has been a huge inflow of refugees into Turkey over the recent years, resulting in the establishment of camps in cities like Izmir and Gaziantep. As a solidarity effort, the Malaysian students in Turkey hence initiated Malaysia Stands With Syria (MSWS), as a medium for students to participate in causes for Syrians.

Over the past few months, MSWS and Humanity Heroes have been working together to launch a brand new initiative – PROJEK KURMA. This project is in fact, an extension to an annual project of MSWS known as “Misi Selimut untuk Syria”, a missionary programme held during winter. Projek Kurma, on the other hand, is planned for the end of Ramadhan and Eid Fitr. This year, the project is scheduled on the 2nd till 4th of June 2019, at the Syrian Refugee Camp in Izmir, Turkey.

I was asked to pen type a write-up about this project but since this will be the debuting year for Projek Kurma, I’m not too sure much about how it will turn out. But what I know is that we have a team of highly passionate and enthusiastic volunteers. The Projek Kurma team is solely made up of 20 Malaysian students from all over Turkey and we’re working day and night (alongside our countless assignments and exam revisions) to launch this exciting brainchild. And I hope that this post will do justice in conveying what this project means to us.

So what is Projek Kurma?

As its name suggests, Projek Kurma is all about embracing the spirit of Ramadhan and the festivity of Eid. It aims to encourage Malaysians (or perhaps even anyone else) to celebrate togetherness especially with the refugees who are now far away from their homes. Simultaneously, it also highlights that Ramadhan and Eid is not just about the spirituality and celebration (+ food). But it’s also about giving back and sharing joy. Therefore, Projek Kurma is not only a student volunteering event but also a celebration of humanity.

The programme is aimed towards 3 main outcomes:

1) Distributing food for iftar and providing a month’s worth of food supply (post-Ramadhan), 2) Assisting in the preparation for Eid , and 3) Celebrating the final days of Ramadhan and Eid Fitr with the refugees.

Besides these outcomes, the volunteers will also carry out mass cleaning, house visits and fun activities for the children.

To achieve this plan, Projek Kurma, in collaboration with Humanity Heroes, will be running a fund to raise RM100,000. This fund will then be channeled for the expenses of the programme, namely for food, children activities, therapy equipment for the refugees, transportation costs for the volunteers, etc.

If you would like to donate to the Projek Kurma fund, you can do so below:

Personally, I see Projek Kurma as a humbling movement. For many Malaysians, Ramadhan and Eid are lavish and festive. But this project will be a different experience (especially for Eid) for the volunteers and hopefully, it will allow us all to delve into the greater meaning of these two Islamic celebrations. As a team, we hope Projek Kurma will eventually become a sustainable cause that is shared by all Malaysians, present and future, in Turkey. InsyaAllah, along with Misi Selimut untuk Syria, both projects will act as milestones for the Malaysian students community here.

“But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.” – [28:77]

May Allah accept our good deeds and grant us His blessings.

Written by Suraya Izzati, student of Political Science and International Relations in Istanbul Şehir University.

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