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Breaking fast video inspires community spirit

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TNP's Ramadan video inspires people to donate to kidney patient's family

This year's Hari Raya Puasa will be a special one for Madam Jurina Johari and her family.

From as early as 9am on Sunday, their one-room rental flat in Sembawang was inundated with well-wishers offering help and donations.

This was due to a video The New Paper posted to its Facebook page on Saturday night.

It was part of a series on breaking fast during Ramadan and it showed Madam Jurina, 42, making a simple version of nasi lemak - without fish or chicken - for iftar.

Tears welled in her eyes as she described how she copes.

Madam Jurina, who has suffered from chronic kidney disease since she was 17, lives with her 60-year-old mother and her two sons. She is in the process of finalising her second divorce.

Mr Muhammad Shafiee Junadi, 22, is serving his national service. Mr Muhammad Shahirul, 21, is autistic.

TNP first spoke to her in May after she had been robbed of her last $50 at the time. That loss meant her family went hungry.

With more than 378,000 views and 6,000 shares, the video also inspired more than 900 people to contact TNP, asking how they could help.

People kept dropping by the home on Sunday. The last guests left at 11pm.

Donations came in the form of cash, bread, eggs and rice.

Items such as curtains, a coffee table, a dining table and even a refrigerator were offered.

Madam Jurina, who had to quit her job as a part-time assistant pharmacist just before Ramadan to care for her autistic son, told TNP: "For the first time, my family will get to bask in the Hari Raya atmosphere that we have longed for.

"I am so moved… I have no words." 

Her voice cracked with emotion as she said: "I can't wait to cook Hari Raya dishes for my sons and mum.

"I can finally make my house look grand."

Some gifts like boxes of chicken and beef had to be kept in her neighbour's refrigerator, as Madam Jurina's faulty refrigerator door meant it could not chill properly.

The generosity of strangers has left her stunned.

She said: "This has never happened to me before.I was so overwhelmed that I was unable to speak."

Madam Jurina shared some of her "blessings" with a neighbour whom she is especially close to.

The neighbour, who has five young children, shared food with Madam Jurina in the past.

"This time, I returned her kindness. It's the least I can do," she said.

When TNP returned to the flat on Monday, a smiling Madam Jurina said: "So many people came here yesterday. They gave us all this kueh. It looks like I can open a stall at Geylang Bazaar."

One of the many visitors was Madam Suharti Nazib, 38, who was there with her daughter to donate groceries.

She told TNP: "Even though the (video) was just a short part of her life story, it really touched my heart."

GOODIES: Food donated to Madam Jurina Johari. Tnp phoToS: Iffah durrah kajaI


"It really saddened me to see what she's been through, especially during the month of Ramadan," the assistant boutique manager added.

Other parents of autistic children also reached out.

Mr Sarifudin Sapari, 51, whose son is autistic, collected $1,450 from family and friends.

He said that during Ramadan, helping the less fortunate is especially encouraged.

Also stepping up to help was Madam Noreen, 37, who has two children with autism.

"I understand how hard it is as I've gone through many obstacles raising my two lovely special kids," she said.

A special education teacher is also connecting Mr Muhammad Shahirul with the Association for Persons with Special Needs (ASPN) Centre For Adults, to help him find work.

Madam Jurina now hopes to resume her medication for her kidney condition, which she had put off in order to feed her family.

"In the past, I would have to think twice about seeing the doctor. Now I can go with a peace of mind and hope to get better," she said.

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