Being orphans amid the Covid-19 pandemic

'Nasyid' practice for the orphans at Nur Murni Care Centre at Batu Kawa. Photos: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: Amira Waniah was just six when she was placed at Nur Murni Care Centre at Batu Kawa here.

Now she’s 11 years old and she’s observing Ramadan with 43 other orphans and underprivileged children she regards as her family.

One may wonder how these children feel living at the centre without parents or relatives.

“It is all about how we count God’s blessings,” said the centre’s 60-year-old administrator and caregiver, Noraini Bakri.

Noraini Bakiri.

Called ‘ibu’ (mother) by her charges, Noraini admitted that taking care of the underprivileged children while serving as their pillar of stability and strength was not easy.

“They are sad at times, but I believe that they will stay strong and positive as they grow up.

“I hope that when they become adults they would always keep this shelter in their hearts,” she said to New Sarawak Tribune during an interview at the centre last Tuesday.

The centre don’t just feed and shelter the children, but also fills their days with religious activities to keep them busy especially during the current movement control order (MCO) period.

The children wake up as early at 4.30am and the centres becomes a hive of activities right from ‘sahur’ (pre-dawn meal) until their ‘tarawih’ prayers at night.

“Sometimes it is extremely hard to wake them up for ‘sahur’, but as the person in charge of the house I have to constantly ensure that all the girls get up for their meals,” said Noraini.

After ‘sahur’ and their congregational ‘subuh’ prayer, the children continue to recite ‘tahlil’ prayers for their parents.

In the afternoon, some children attend an Al-Quran recital session. Others perform ‘nasyid’ which they are always excited about.

For Noraini, taking care of the children has enlightened her on various aspects of caregiving for which she has developed greater inner strength required to continue as their guardian.

“Seeing these Muslim kids carrying out their daily duties at such a young age enlightens me to constantly be a mother to them and their pillar of strength,” she said.

On this year’s Ramadan amid the movement control order (MCO), she said Muslims would still be able to reconnect with God through prayers and self-reflection.

“Everyone is in the same boat. We all feel the economic pain. But while we lose materialistically, we gain in terms of family bonding. Love and compassion during this hard time will enable us to move forward. Always count our blessings,” she said.