A school’s efforts to raise money for one of its students has caught the attention of the wider community, who are now chipping in to help as well.
Muhammad Hilmi, a student at Meridian Secondary School, and some of his relatives were badly injured in a Christmas Eve accident in Johor.
His mother, Madam Hamimah Mammu, was one of the 14 people killed after the express coach they were in crashed into a ravine while on its way to Kuala Lumpur.
The 16-year-old’s father and sister also suffered serious injuries.
On Monday, his school distributed a letter addressed to its students’ parents asking for donations for Hilmi and his family.
The letter said Hilmi had undergone surgery on Christmas Day to insert metal rods into his spine and elbow on. His father and sister also had fractures that required surgeries.
The school principal, Mrs Hilda Thong, wrote that Hilmi needs to undergo another surgery on his spine.
“As Hilmi’s long period of hospitalisation and medical expenses is financially draining for his family, we would like to help to raise funds for him,” she wrote, describing him as a “very polite and respectful” student.
The letter has since made its rounds on social media, going viral. The original post by Facebook user Zaidy Nandir was shared almost 2,000 times as of last evening.
The letter also caught the attention of local actor Shahrin Azhar Mohamed, 45, whose 15-year-old son is also from Meridian Secondary School.
The actor, who became popular in the 1980s with the children’s television series Aksi Mat Yoyo, shared the letter with his friends to spread the word to raise funds for Hilmi’s family.
Mr Shahrin said: “When I first read the letter, it caused pain in my heart to know that the boy was severely injured. To fight that himself, knowing that his mother is not around, I really felt for him.”
Mr Shahrin is a member of Broadwalk Anglers, a group of fishing enthusiasts who are now coming together to donate to Hilmi’s family.
One of the members, Mrs Sarah Widjaya, a 36-year-old housewife, said the group is keen to do charity work, and the members had asked if they could help after seeing the letter.
“Some of us are from, or came from, low-income families. Now, since we can help people, we should. I believe what goes around comes around,” she said.
Mr Shahrin said he has raised “a couple of thousands” so far, with part of the amount coming from Broadwalk Anglers.
“Any amount is not just a small amount – it is more important we come together as one community or one Singapore.
“I am a father, and sharing with my kids about doing good will also shape their futures,” he added.
Hilmi’s aunt, Madam Fatimah Mammu, said she was touched by the school’s efforts.
Blinking back tears as she spoke to The New Paper in her flat in Pasir Ris, Madam Fatimah said: “I am very thankful for the help that everyone has shown us. We’ve left it to the school and are touched by the generosity.”
When asked about her injured relatives’ condition, Madam Fatimah said Hilmi and his family members are still recovering, and they need plenty of rest.
Although the tragedy is still fresh on their minds, Madam Fatimah said the family, which also lives in Pasir Ris, is slowly recovering.
“They were badly injured and need to recover, but the donations we have received will help them recover from their injuries and their loss,” she said.
This article was first published on Jan 12, 2017.
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