Orphans shop with one-day parents

28 Sep


The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Sat, 09/27/2008 11:57 AM  |  City

One-day foster parents gave some 200 orphans the chance to do some Idul Fitri shopping before the major Islamic holiday coming up.

The kids were allowed to buy anything they wanted with the Rp 200,000 (US$21) the foster parents had donated, at the Ciputra Mall in Jakarta on Wednesday afternoon. Most chose clothing over toys.

Titi Masnuni, a 16-year-old sponsored by Adinda Foundation, was pleasantly surprised when she arrived at the event and found out about it.

“I didn’t know this would happen. We were invited before, during past Ramadans, but just to break fast. I’m really happy,” she said. She chose a pair of jeans as her find for the day.

She watched her friends who were still shopping but put her other wants on hold since she had used up her allowance.

On the other hand, Ainul, a boy from Uswatun Hasanah Foundation, had known about the deal for some time.

“I heard about this at the beginning of September and I’ve been thinking about what to buy,” he said.

He settled for a pair of pants, sandals, and a koko (a long-sleeved tunic with a button collar) to replace his well-worn one.

Sri Trisnawati, a foundation representative, said she had no idea the children had spent so much time thinking about the trip and admitted it was a rare occasion for them.

“Shopping in a mall like this with these price tags is unreachable with our budget,” she said.

“Usually we buy clothing in bulk at Tanah Abang market to pay a lower price and distribute them. So, everyone has the same things with the same patterns, though we try to vary the color,” she said.

“We definitely cannot afford to buy jackets, so a lot of kids bought those today,” she added with big smile.

One of the foster parents, 21-year-old event organizer Hennik Fitriana, said the idea appealed to her as soon as the mall management told her about it. She had fun helping her three companions choose their purchases: shirts, sandals, shoes and pants.

“Doing it this way is charity but we get to help more directly.

“They are kids, so if you give them money, sometimes they don’t know how to choose. It can be hard for them to have the chance to buy whatever they want,” she said.

Ciputra Mall marketing manager Silvia said the company had arranged for the donors to meet the kids and help them choosing their purchases.

“Unlike the usual alms giving, where donors contribute money and have nothing else to do with it, we let them meet and interact with the kids to do the shopping together. Creating positive shopping experiences is right up our alley as mall operators,” she said.

Half of the donors were individuals, the rest were companies. Donors who chose not to participate were represented by the mall’s employees. The shopping center plans to hold a similar event during Christmas for children who celebrate that holiday. (mri)


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