Impian means dream in Malay. Not the kind of dream you get when you're asleep, but what you dream for in life. A few days ago, a group of pregnant teens from a care home came to the Wisma Pandu Puteri (Girl Guide headquarters) in KL. We organised a morning with them followed by lunch.
All the girl guides present that day stayed over at the HQ during the weekend for a training programme for body confidence called 'Free Being Me' which I and a few others facilitated. Most of the participants were teachers and much older. Only 1 or 2 were in their 20s.
Most if not all of the teens, were victims of circumstance and I'd rather not go into details about that, I'm sure you guys understand. They were aged between 13-18. When they arrived, most of them were shy, probably nervous and made little eye contact. But by lunch time most of them were laughing, smiling and wanted to talk to us about their interests. It was pretty remarkable!
All the guides and teens were split into 4 groups and each group came up with their own fun activity. Each group of teens rotated around the hall so they got to try all 4 activities. I joined the group that talked about our impian.
The girls had to write their dreams on a piece of paper followed by a simple drawing that symbolised that dream of theirs. After that we advised the girls on how to achieve their goals. We also told them that there's no straight path to success in life and making mistakes is a natural part of the process.
Quite a number of the girls wanted to become chefs because they enjoyed cooking. Some were very ambitious and had a LIST of things they wanted to achieve. I was very glad that all these girls wanted a better future for themselves and that they had ambitions, it's a very promising start.
When the 3rd group of teens came to our table, a very quiet 15-year-old sat opposite me. She barely made eye contact. I sensed a lot of pent up emotions so I made sure not to put any pressure on her to talk. Her other friends wrote things like 'I want to become a chef' or 'I want to get into college'... but what she wrote made my heart break into a million pieces...
She dreams for a happy family. I knew if I talked to her about it she might cry on the spot so instead I wrote a note on her piece of paper. I think she knew it was a heartfelt note, something that could evoke a lot of emotions, so she folded the paper and placed it in her handbag but she salam-ed me before she left.
I think every child deserves to be part of a happy family so it saddens me when anyone is deprived of this basic right. I pray that with the support of her friends and caretakers at her new home, she'll have a bright future and I hope I'll see her again.
Working with people from 'difficult' backgrounds requires a lot of emotional strength; you've to be strong FOR them. As I said before, most of the girl guides at the HQ last weekend were a lot older and therefore had families of their own. Some of them had to excuse themselves briefly because they couldn't hold back their tears.
I don't blame them. They're mothers and no mother would want to see their child get themselves into these kind of situations. I'm usually the first to cry for anything but I just couldn't, you know? You can't let someone in a difficult situation feel pitied; it makes them feel uneasy.
But my experience with them wasn't all sad. I met these 2 girls who said they loved music; 1 loved playing the guitar but both were gifted with beautiful voices. Before they left our table they excitedly asked if we wanted to hear them sing. Err, of course we wanted to!
Both of their voices combined gave us goosebumps; they were incredibly talented. All of us were happy that they were confident with their talents. They exuded a lot of positive vibes which insyaAllah will get them through all of life's obstacles.
I hope they'll keep coming to Wisma Pandu Puteri, us guides are always ready to help because that was what we promised when we took our oaths... and we keep our promises.