By Nancy Nais
SARATOK, Jan 10: Laughter and chatter from 11 orphans and underprivileged children filled the air at Saratok fire station during a Chinese New Year party today.
A pair of orphaned twins, Nur Qaireena Azelia Mohd Noraden and Nur Qaireen Adelia, were very shy when they first stepped into fire station.
Donning children’s fire suits and boots, however, it didn’t take them long before they warmed up with other children and a group of firefighters who accompanied them throughout the morning.
“I am so happy that we got invited to this party here,” Nur Qaireena said.
Their grandmother said the twins were so excited when they were told that they could join a colouring contest, ride in a fire truck, play with water and have KFC for lunch.
Five-year-old Fiona Gonzalez Bunjai from Rh Rengan Selambong in Krian was so engrossed with her colouring activity, that she told her mother Catherine Bunai Paga, 26, not to disturb her.
Catherine later told DayakDaily they were so overwhelmed after receiving so many presents during the gathering today.
“Fiona loves getting presents. She also loves it when she gets invited to outings like this, which is a very rare occasion for them,” she said.
The three girls were among the orphans and underprivileged children aged five and six, that were treated to a trip to the fire station, not just to celebrate Chinese New Year but also learn some basic fire safety.
When Saratok fire station chief PPgB Nazry Mohamat helped them hold the fire hose, all of the children’s eyes were glowing with amazement the moment water gushed out.
The event was part of a pre-Chinese New Year celebration and fire safety awareness programme jointly organised by Fire and Rescue department (Bomba) Saratok, DayakDaily and Pertubuhan Wartawan Bebas Kuching (Pewarta).
DayakDaily and Pewarta in a joint statement said the event was a way to contribute back to society.
The main objective is to let the orphans have a chance to enjoy the festive season like other children and also to create joy and memories for them.
Sri Aman zone fire chief PgB Nik Muhd Afiq Nik Roslan in his heartwarming address said in every festive season, other children get to celebrate with lots of food, new clothes, presents and so on.
“But what about orphans, children and families from the less fortunate group? Can they feel what we feel when we celebrate festive season?
“We understand your challenges and hardship in life, but at the same time, we want you to know that we are all with you. These contributions are small but hopefully we can help provide an atmosphere of festive joy.
“As a human being and a father myself, it is in the sense of responsibility and we felt that we should organise programs like to tell these people that they are not alone,” Afiq said.
He hoped that such programme would continue to be implemented with Bomba, not just by the government and DayakDaily or Pewarta, but also other corporate bodies or non-governmental organisations to bridge the gap between them.
In addition, Afiq said that this kind of programme provided an opportunity for Bomba to expand and strengthen their fire safety awareness education.
He asserted that most of the homes in rural areas are made of wood which is flammable material, thus fire safety awareness was important to save lives and priceless possessions. —DayakDaily