The story of a professional Youth Worker
Nor Akmar Qaseh from Malaysia who works for improving the lives of people experiencing homelessness, trauma, mental illness, and addiction. She has gone through a traumatic life but have fought her own battles and have added immense value in society by providing stability to destitute.
Please Watch this 2 mins video to get glimpses of her life journey so far.
Do read her full interview with Inspirational Beings team to know what all challenges she had to go through during her journey, how did she manage to overcome those challenges, what are some of her best and worst experiences so far, what are her learnings and what is her message to our readers.
The homeless in the street of Chow Kit adore this kindhearted lady, many of the street children call her ‘Ibu’ meaning ‘mother’.
Tell us about your childhood and family background
I was the fifth child to my parents. My childhood was just like other middle-class kids; I was grown up with my other six siblings. I was very close to my late father. My mother is a very supportive woman. My ambition as a kid was to be a police officer, just like my father.
I was married off when I was 16 years old. My experience with marriage was unfortunate and harsh. I had to go through domestic violence and torture. I was forcefully separated from my children and was thrown out of the house; that situation made me realize that I must stand up and be strong to fight my battle.
How did you survive a tough situation when you were abandoned?
I was fighting my battle and was not hopeful for assistance from others or society. I was depressed and missed my children badly.
In that life situation, I got into the wrong company of drug addicts and started drugs. Later I was caught by authorities and put under a rehabilitation program. I became sober after completing that program.
That phase was the turning point of my life. When I saw the pain and anguish of other drug addicts and homeless in that center, I decided to work for their rehabilitation.
How did your social service journey start?
When I completed my drug rehabilitation treatment under harm reduction services in the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Malaysia AIDS Council (MAC) for drug users, sex workers, and transgender. At that time, I realized the real-life and struggles faced by this group of marginalized people. As I spent more time with them, I understood what they are facing and thought, I am capable of contributing much more to society than getting swallowed in my problems.
I realized their need and thought, I should work for integrating them back in society.
After that realization, I devoted myself to assist this marginalized community friends.
Tell us more about your mission for homeless and drug addicts
We work on bringing back homeless and addicts to the main society. We try to develop their skills, work on their morals, self-confidence, and make all efforts to make them independent. We share religious knowledge with them and also teach them reading and writing scripts. We have set up an al-Quran recital center, located at Jalan Buku Building, at Jalan Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur for this destitute class.
The homeless in the street of Chow Kit adore this kindhearted lady, many of the street children call her ‘Ibu’ meaning ‘mother’. She tirelessly visits them even during midnight and wee hour in the morning. This bold but kindhearted angel goes deeper into the slum of Chow Kit and distribute adult diapers and sanitary pads, panties and bra to those in needs in Kuala Lumpur covering from Medan Tunku area to Jalan Ipoh. She is the mediator for university students and Ngos that need assistance in distributing food stuffs and toiletries to the homeless as part of their social corporate responsibilities. She tries her best to ensure poor people don’t go to sleep hungry.
What all challenges you faced and how you overcome them?
One challenge I face is the execution of this program that I do is not running on any financial support either from the government or from any agency. This operation runs on the supports from the donation of my close friends and virtual world acquaintance from Facebook.
Sometimes I feel, God does not only test them but also us, whether we are capable to help them or not.
Since I witness their struggles daily and know that, I am the one they look up to for the support; thus it becomes my responsibility to keep doing whatever I could do in my capacity as a human being.
What is your plan?
I dream of owning a center where I able to provide my street friends meals and comfortable cleansing space. This center will enable me to organize more useful programs. By the end of the day, they will be able to rest there peacefully. I hope that I will be given good health and fortune to continue assisting my beloved marginalized street friend
What is thought process which keeps you going?
When I feel down and sad, I try to gain back my strength from my marginalized friends. Their lives are miserable, and their sufferings are interminable. We have families, children, friends, house, food, But they have nothing. Still, they do not give up and continue living with a smile. They are my driving force and strength.
During every single time, I gave out aids to these needy friends; they received it with a smile, which makes me feel worthy and keeps me running for my mission.
I dream of owning a center where all street friends and addicts can lead an independent life and generate their own income in order to be self-sufficient. Her main concern now is to get medical aids for the street people, hopefully can network with overseas agencies or ngo that can share their expertise in helping the homeless
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