Every year, The Church of St Jude Thaddeus’ Parish Integral Human Development Ministry (PIHDM) supports 50-60 underprivileged students, ranging from kindergarten to secondary level.
St Jude’s Back To School Programme was initiated about 10 years ago and has since become an annual programme for the PIHDM. With a focus on providing education opportunities for children in need, children of registered families receive uniforms, school bags, shoes and socks to ensure they are able to stay in school.
For those in dire straits, PIHDM also provides stationeries, workbooks and exercise books. The majority of these students are from families in need identified by PIHDM from communities in Rawang.
A beacon of hope in times of need
The PIHDM families are also provided with monthly essential provisions, and since the Covid-19 pandemic, the provisions have been substituted with cash. Children in the Back to School Programme are supported by having their tuition fees covered, and the PIHDM also pays for the school transport fare for selected students.
“Most of the PIHDM members are senior members who have seen the life difficulties faced by others and, therefore, are able to empathise with them.”Mercy Almeida, St. Jude’s PIHDM Coordinator
The Education Desk at PIHDM monitors the students’ academic progress to ensure accountability and consistency. A good number of students have excelled in their studies and continued on to tertiary education, improving their chances for employment.
On a case to case basis, PIHDM also provides aid in kind in the form of laptops for deserving students with financial difficulties, to be used for their tertiary studies. There have also been instances where students received financial aid to pay for their college fees as well as their hostel fees.
Creating change in Jesus’ name
PIHDM strives to reach out to the needy, the destitute and the neglected by following the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who reached out to the marginalised and vulnerable.
As many PIHDM members have gone through life experiences themselves and witnessed the debilitating impact of poverty on one’s future, they strongly feel that all children irrespective of race and creed should have an equal opportunity to pursue their studies.
Poverty should not be an excuse to hinder them from having a better future.Mercy Almeida, St. Jude’s PIHDM Coordinator
There are many ways the Church can serve communities
In addition to the Back to School programme, the Church of St Jude Thaddeus has a Prison Ministry working in tandem with the Archdiocese Prison Ministry. It also runs a Migrant Desk that looks into the welfare of the migrants living within the vicinity of Rawang and Batu Arang.
While the Women’s Desk looks into the well-being of single mothers, divorcees and widows, the Social Concern Desk conducts blood donation drives and talks on parenting and mental health. The members of the Women’s Desk also reach out to the homebound and organise prayers for those in need.
The challenge for the Malaysian Christians and churches is to walk the talk, and to follow Christ’s main teaching which is: To love one another as I have loved you.
Mercy Almeida, St. Jude’s PIHDM Coordinator
Are you looking for ways to impact your community? Head over to our Christian Social Work Map to find causes near you.