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I greatly admire the unsung heroes in the likes of Mak W (story below). I did some voluntary work with a home for abandoned children with HIV some years back. It didn't last very long. One by one my team members withdrew. It takes tremendous spiritual, emotional, mental and physical energy to carry on doing work like this and only the strong-willed and disciplined are able to persist in this kind of work.

Sister Norhafizah Manaf's note which was originally posted in Facebook has reminded me of that past experience..and rekindled my desire to do something for these children, our children. 

The thing that struck me and affected me most was that almost all the boys in the home carried the name of our Prophet SAW..Muhammad before another name. Immediately, my thoughts went to the last words before he died, "Ummati..ummati..ummati.." (my followers). He probably knew then that this would happen, and as such was in distress thinking about the fate of his followers, more than 1,400 years on. 

Why, how could this happen? Right now maybe the children belong to strangers, nameless people, people whom we may think and feel had absolutely no responsibility towards themselves and those close to them. But the possibility of it happening within our own families is not obscure. These are our children, we cannot claim to be not responsible. We cannot ever guarantee that members of our family, or even we ourselves are immunised or protected from committing sins, misdeeds and making mistakes in our lives. We can only pray that we are constantly Guided, and we can also help others so He will always help us stay in the right path.

This is her story.. 

A Humbling Start to 2012 - Alhamdulillah
by Norhafizah Manaf on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 12:41pm

How would you feel, if at 4, you had to follow your mom to seek refuge at a shelter home? How would you feel at such tender age, you had to watch, first your dad, and then your mom die in front of your very eyes, leaving you alone to cope in this world, with a younger sister to take care of? How would you feel, when at 17, you know you are inflicted with HIV, a legacy passed down to you by one of your parents?

I simply cannot imagine the feeling! Yet I was privileged and honoured to meet such an individual. A bespectacled shy young man, fair with wavy hair, softly spoken, yet you can see in his eyes his acceptance to what God has decreed to be his fate. I am humbled.

This young man, who now calls the orphanage his home, shares it with some seven other boys (ages between 11- 14) and two little girls (8 and 9) - mostly abandoned at birth, all inflicted with the same predicament. Looking at them, one would probably not guess they are victims of HIV - they fool around just like any other young children their age, they are curious, they are trusting and they welcome people who come to visit them with the innocence that come with their age.
Yet, according to Mak W, the Mother Theresa for these kids, the lady who is the Mak, the Mama for these abandoned children, these younger boys, who are not yet quite aware of what is happening to them, seem to realise that they are not like other children who have parents and a house to call their own home. Thus, according to Mak W, they seem to play only amongst themselves, are very shy and unsure. Most of them are slow learners, by virtue of their nerves probably afftected by the virus or, as in one case, little S, she was found abandoned at a car park, with ants already covering her body, and according to Mak W, the abadonment had affected her nervous system. She cannot walk.

As the boys grow into teenage years,the symptoms start to show, the extreme fatigue, the secondary infections which are so hard to treat (due to lowered immunity) and Mak W says sooner or later these boys have to be told the truth. She can only pray that they will be able to accept their fate as well as Z, the 17 year old has, and remember that all is not lost, for as long as they have their faith in God.

As for the young man Z, he seems to take things in his stride. He hopes to leave the home at 18, and find a job should he fail to get a place to further his studies. He knows the prognosis of HIV, but that certainly has not stopped him from planning a future. 

His soft spoken voice still rings in my ears, the look of acceptance in his eyes  still clear in my mind and my heart goes out to him. A mother of two teenagers myself, I can see the opportunities and chances in life denied to him - being homeless, unable to live like other teenagers, the uncertainty of the future for him, the relationship barriers he has to overcome if he discloses the truth about himself to others. Yet, he smiled when he spoke to me, and he could look at me in the eye after some time. He has accepted his fate, but he has not given up.

And that is enlightening to me. This young man did not ask to be afflicted with HIV. He has done nothing wrong to deserve this. But such is the Will of God - HE tests whom HE wills. And this young man knows this, I do not detect the slightest vengeance or hatred in him. He accepts his fate. I can see in his eyes, he is alone, lonely, but I also know he is at peace with himself.

And as I left him, left the home, most humbled, I am left to ask of myself - with all the blessings of God bestowed upon me, with firiends and loved ones around me, why do I still lament, why do I still want more? When others were not even given the chance right from the beginning. May God have mercy on me.

And may God bless Mak W and all the children of the home.


By the Glorious Morning Light,
And by the night when it is still.
Your Lord (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) has neither forsaken you nor hated you.
And indeed the Hereafter is better for you than the present (life of this world).
And verily, your Lord will give you (all that is good) so that you shall be well-pleased.
Did He not find you (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) an orphan and gave you a refuge? 
And He found you unaware (of the Quran, its legal laws, and Prophethood, etc.) and guided you?
And He found you poor, and made you rich (selfsufficient with selfcontentment, etc.)?
Therefore, treat not the orphan with oppression,
And repulse not the beggar;
And proclaim the Grace of your Lord (i.e. the Prophethood and all other Graces).

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