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The worst seems over for Azrul’s orphans

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

Three weeks after The Mole wrote about its struggle for survival, the caretakers of a transit home for aged-out orphans were summoned for a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development has read the report and offered to help the transit home and its occupants.

For the orphans living there, it was a welcomed news following the untimely death of their doting father-figure, Che Azrul Rozi Che Aziz, who was the founder of the transit home.


KUALA LUMPUR — May 2, 2019: Like any die-hard-fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Imran Abdullah could not stop talking about the latest Avengers movie, the Endgame. His only complaint was that the plot was a tad confusing to digest.

“Abang Azrul won’t like it though,” his exuberant voice suddenly mellowed down as the 21-year old orphan reminisced about his father-figure, Che Azrul Rozi Che Aziz.

Azrul was the founder of a transit home for aged-out orphans where Imran was staying. He died on Feb 14 due to heart and lung complications at just 35 years old.

“He likes old movies, especially P.Ramlee’s. He could watch the whole lot of it all night long. I find them a bit boring though,” Imran poignantly forced a quip. His voice was starting to crack.

An orphan himself, Azrul established the home as he saw many of his parent-less peers who aged-out of their orphanages ended-up with the wrong company.

He made it his life mission to teach aged-out orphans the survival skills that were needed in order to adapt to the world outside the orphanages.

The past two years however, have not been smooth-sailing for the transit home, managed by the Ja’keb Foundation and its occupants.

Prior to his death, the Welfare Department last year took back the house which was its Keramat-based home, forcing them to relocate to a neighbourhood in the outskirts of Kajang.

But for Imran and the other orphans living at the transit home, the worst seemed to have ended.

“He’s going to assist the cook at our place for this coming Ramadhan,” said National Welfare Foundation planning and development director Nordina Haron who oversaw a transit home for the homeless here, called Anjung Kasih.

Nordina was among several officials from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development who attended the housewarming of the transit home’s new house in Wangsa Maju on Tuesday.

While Imran has yet to start working, the rest of his peers have all been employed. The other two boys, Jeremy Lim Chin Han and Muhammad Nor Haszizi Abdullah were already hired by an imported car dealer, Apisz Maju Auto.

“They have been working there for several weeks now. Their lodgings are all taken care of by their boss. I’m happy that they have managed to settle down quite well,” said one of the transit home’s caretaker, Annie Othman.

Like a mother who was proud of her children, Annie showed several videos of Jeremy and Muhamad Nor enjoying a game of badminton with their new co-workers and employer.

The remaining two girls at the transit home, however, went on a different route.

Instead of searching for employment, Fitria Syahira Sahabudin and Suhaida Abdullah, who are both 21 years old had decided to venture into online business.

“We’re selling Raya cookies and biscuits for this Ramadhan and after that we planned to sell batik shirts and dresses,” said Suhaida  as both of them excitedly recounted their money-making plans.

Merriment and gratefulness were palpable during the housewarming. Annie said that a meeting between the committee of Ja’keb Foundation and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail two months ago had opened a lot of doors for them.

“Imran’s upcoming stint with Anjung Kasih was a product of that meeting. The ministry had also offered to help link us with several other outfits to help with job match-ups for our upcoming intake,” she said.

Annie added that the foundation had decided to move the transit home to Wangsa Maju because of the area’s easy access to public transportation.

Unlike previously, the two new houses -which are double-storey semi-detached units- of the transit home are in the same neighbourhood. The one designated for boys will, at the moment, doubles as the foundation’s office.

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About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at zaidiazmi91@gmail.com.