As the sisters arm of WOF when we had made the decision to visit sick children I had no idea how deeply this visit would affect me.
When we initially advertised for toy donations we had an overwhelming response. There were so many toys dropped off to my house as well as the MoH office. Just looking at the toys was making me nervous and excited at the same time. Looking at the age groups and different types of toys, I tried to picture the children that would be receiving them.
We had family members, friends and volunteers help us wrap up the gifts. I went back to my childhood memories remembering the fact that I couldn’t go to sleep without cuddling two of them, It made me smile and feel emotional at the same time.
When the day had approached we all met with the sisters nice and early, packed up the toys into the car and set out to the hospital. I could read the excitement in their eyes. After a brief meeting with the MoH volunteer Rosa as well as the Hospital co-ordinator Michael and his amazing family we were ready to start our day!
The age groups ranged from 0-16 years and different wards depending on their health condition had a mixture of age groups. As soon as you enter a ward the climate of the room changes completely, Our talkative group had become silent. Parents and children were surprised and so happy to see us! Children were thrilled to see toys and Parents were so thankful. In between walking through different wards Michael asked “Usually they come around Ramadan or Eid, Is there anything special at the moment?” I said “We love children so much and just want to make them happy”. I have been a part of WOF since the day it had been established and our focus is orphans around the world, particularly South East Asia. I wanted to be able to give back to the community here in Australia. These children may not be orphans but they are orphaned of their childhood and health for a period of time or their illness might be terminal.
I remembered the hadith where the Prophet Mohammed (saw) visited the little boy, whose bird had passed away and was very sad. This is the example I wanted to follow and no matter what the issue at hand was whether it was an orphan in Cambodia or a sick child in Australia, As a muslim I had to do all I can to help put a smile on those precious faces.
I won’t go into the sicknesses and the details of the children for privacy reasons but one thing that strike me about them all was how “BRAVE” they were. I have volunteered at a nursing home in the past and have been to hospitals to visit family and there is a big difference between children and adults. I believe children are more resilient, They are more “HOPEFUL” than adults. All children no matter how sick had a spark in their eyes. The mothers at the hospital were inspirational! I saw a mother handing down the toy to her son saying “Look I told you hospitals are so cool! Look how beautiful your toy is, Let’s open it together”. No matter how worried she was about her child, no matter how many sleepless nights she would have endured and no matter how much she sacrificed. She was a mother, She was a fighter… We owe so much to our mothers.
The connection between a mother and a child is simply amazing. We visited a sick baby and as soon as the mother touched the baby’s forehead and kissed, A huge smile appeared on the baby’s face. That is something I will keep very close to my heart.
We all want the best for our children and just because we are happy and healthy now there is no guarantee that it will remain that way. I want everyone reading this to reflect on their own childhood or if they have children reflect on them and think how they would feel if they were that sick child themselves or if the sick child was their own.
Please keep an open heart and on your next visit to your local shopping centre when you are walking past the toys section please pick up a toy and donate it. You will never know how much of an impact you will have. That precious angel’s smile when they see your gift will inshaAllah be your sadaqa and your shade on the day of judgement.