Extending their hands in friendship
Projek Sahabat does much more than just distributing food.
It started when Mohammad Fauzi Mohktar was looking for ways to celebrate his birthday in 2013.
After talking to his friends, he came up with the idea to spend it with the boys staying at Muhammadiyah Welfare Home.
Accompanied by three of his friends, Fauzi hosted a buffet lunch at the home, and even personally cooked the dishes.
Over 60 boys attended, and they ate while spending time together. The Muhammadiyah Welfare Home takes in boys aged between 10 to 19, who were abuse victims, juvenile offenders or come from disadvantaged families.
Fauzi, 35, recounted: “I felt the love, warmth and sincerity from my friends, these kids and the people around me. I said, from this day onward, let’s embark on this journey.”
That was how Projek Sahabat started, with four core members.
Sadly, the team lost one member, M. Hamdan Kamil, as he passed away last November. Despite their grief, the team decided to continue the project, as they still wanted to continue spreading their love for humanity.
Projek Sahabat, which means ‘Project Friendship’ in Malay, is based on the simple idea of sharing.
Fauzi, who works in the community involvement committee at Delta Airlines, is the ambassador of Projek Sahabat. His two co-founders are Shairul Nazrin, who manages the social media, and Riduan Sunny, who helps with logistics.
Projek Sahabat operates mainly on Facebook, where they gather information on people who need assistance, be it a bill that needs to be paid, or a hungry mouth to feed. They also use it as a platform to reach out to people looking for help.
Since its inception in 2013, Projek Sahabat has worked with approximately 500 residents from Home for the Aged, Darul Ihsan Orphanage, Jamiyah’s Childrens’ Home and Pertapis Childrens’ Home.
They plan activities and host meals at various old folks’ homes, orphanages and children’s homes, and also distribute food to the homeless along North Bridge Road.
On Feb 16, 2014, Projek Sahabat collaborated with Happy People Helping People for an initiative called Extend the Feast, where they distributed food and held a feast for elderly cardboard collectors.
Projek Sahabat has also extended their charity work overseas.
In December 2013, they collected winter clothing and blankets for the needy in Syria, during the winter season. The response was so overwhelming that donations filled up the homes of the team members.
For Projek Sahabat’s next project, Fauzi has decided to take the plunge—in icy waters, that is.
Together with his wife Siti Aisah Suhaimi, who also works in Delta Airlines, Fauzi will be travelling to Minnesota in March for Polar Plunge, where participants take a dip in one of Minnesota’s frozen lakes during the winter.
The Polar Plunge also raises money for The Special Olympics, which will be used to provide sports training and fund competitions for disabled athletes.
Currently, Fauzi is rallying for supporters to pledge money to The Special Olympics.
With so many upcoming projects on his plate, how does Fauzi juggle his time between his charity work and career while managing his team?
Fauzi shared: “[Some of us] we work the night shift and on irregular days. So, we discuss upcoming projects beforehand and work towards the date. We make sure there’s a balance between our careers, this initiative, as well as other projects that I have on my hands.”
“The important thing is to think positive, be sincere, and share the love for the community.”
Head here to support Projek Sahabat in the Polar Plunge.