AZAM’s Busking4Charity sees performers doing their bit for children with cancer

 By Patricia Hului
@pattbpseeds
 

Busking: the practice of street performing in public places for money.
Buskers: those who do street performances in public places for money.

The word “busking” was coined the first time in the English language around the mid-1860s in Great Britain. The verb “to busk” was claimed to come from the Spanish root word “buscar” which means “to seek” referring to buskers who were known to wander from town to town seeking fame and/or fortune. They could almost be said to be the earliest kinds of reporters, since they also brought news from other towns.

Fast forward to 2014 right here in Kuching, it is slowly becoming the norm to see a line of buskers performing as you stroll along the Kuching waterfront.

Taking busking to a whole other level is AZAM Young Souls, a network of Kuching youth volunteers under the wing of Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) in a programme called Busking4Charity.

 

One of AZAM Young Souls, Ezra Tekoma making Hari Raya card with one of the patients

One of AZAM Young Souls, Ezra Tekoma making Hari Raya card with one of the patients

 

Busking4Charity first made its debut as an activity for the Kuching Youths Day Out 1.0 event organised by AZAM at the Kuching Waterfront back in Mar 31, 2012.

Then in 2013, the AZAM Young Soul’s Busking4Charity activity was introduced as a fortnightly tourist attraction showcase at Damai Central with the support of the Damai Central establishment, thus allowing tourists to donate as well.

According to Deputy Chairman of AZAM Youth Central (AYC) Asyraf Hardy, Busking4Charity usually has a lineup of seven or eight buskers performing in one session.

Over the last two years, Busking4Charity has been performing to raise money for Sarawak Children’s’ Cancer Society (SCCS).

Asyraf briefed that throughout the years they have worked together with roughly 20 buskers for Busking4Charity, among them Zah from Jejak Biru, Sasha Ningkan and Syed Haziq.

 

Sasha (left) entertaining the children.

Sasha (left) entertaining the children.

 

“We provide a platform whereby we gathered these talented youth and do this donation drive for SCCS,” said Asyraf.

Sasha, one of their regular buskers, said her love for music, charity and volunteering was the drive for her participation on Busking4Charity.

The 19-year old Management and Multimedia student of Multimedia College Kuching has been volunteering with Buskers4Charity since day one.

“I’ve gained a lot of experience and I’ve met a lot of people,” said Sasha who sings and plays the guitar for Busking4Charity.

After almost two years of busking, AZAM Young Souls handed the fruit of their labours – a cheque amounting to RM3,028 – to SCCS at SCCS centre at Desa Wira on July 19.

 

AZAM Young Souls, the children and some of their parents, Ariff (fifth left) and Dr Leh (fourth left) joined in for the group photo.

AZAM Young Souls, the children and some of their parents, Ariff (fifth left) and Dr Leh (fourth left) joined in for the group photo.

 

The handing over was also in conjunction with the breaking of fast with the residents at the society’s centre.

Hours before the breaking of fast events, AZAM Young Souls members – made up six of the regular buskers – were there to interact and entertain the children with Hari Raya card making session.

 

AZAM Young Souls and some of the residents hanging out at the centre common room before breaking of fast.

AZAM Young Souls and some of the residents hanging out at the centre common room before breaking of fast.

 

According to Md Ariff Irwani Azahari, the Honorary Secretary of AZAM Sarawak, “The total amount, although a relatively modest amount, was collected through the passion and hard work of the youth volunteers ranging from those with talents in singing, music, dancing, visual arts, to extreme sports athletes.”

More of such donation drives for SCCS were held at the AZAM Youth Central at Medan Pelita during the youth’s various activities such as the AYC Live @Wayang Street.

Apart from members of the public, donors also included members of AZAM themselves.

Tamiya Mini 4 Wheel Drive Kuching and Arfina Catering Damai Central also donated for the cause and had also come to the breaking of fast at SCCS centre have been supporting the Busking4Charity in AZAM’s past events.

Ariff, who had the honour to hand their collection to Dr Leh Moi Ung the Honorary Treasure of SCCS said that, “It is hoped that efforts such as this would serve as motivation for other local youths to do their bit for society.”

Although AZAM Young Souls may have already handed their collected money so far to SCCS, Busking4Charity still continues at Damai Central.

“We are going to continue this. We are trying to scout new talents for Busking4Charity. We need new and more buskers for this,” said Asyraf.

To all the talented youths out there, what are you waiting for? Sign up to busk for charity with AZAM Young Souls by paying them a visit at their headquarters AZAM Youth Central at Medan Pelita.

Watch the Busking4Charity enliven Damai Central every second and fourth weekend of the month from 4 to 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

 

About Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society

 

SCCS’ new centre was officially launched on Oct 13 last year and operates as a temporary living house for outstation patients with full provision of food and amenities.

 

SCCS centre at Lorong 15, Taman Desa Wira Jalan Batu Kawa was launched in October last year.

SCCS centre at Lorong 15, Taman Desa Wira Jalan Batu Kawa was launched in October last year.

 

It has 13 rooms for children and their parents. The centre also offers a mini library and a playground perfect for the children.

As an NGO, SCCS relies on donations to run the centre. SCCS also provides daily hospital transportation for patients staying at the centre.

Plus, the kitchen at the centre is fully stocked with fresh food bought weekly for residents staying at the centre.

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