Dec 16, 2017
Building a way out of poverty
As the world continues to progress and develop before our very eyes, we in turn grow increasingly accustomed to greater comforts and a better way of life. It’s easy to take for granted the conveniences you enjoy on a daily basis. But for some, the little things that we might today consider basic necessities – like electricity, or a clean source of running water, are in fact a luxury. These communities live in old, worn out homes, and without the ability to afford renovation or repair works, they go about their daily lives sometimes in hazardous conditions.
It was these communities that inspired the Baiti Jannati project, a sustainable community programme launched in 2007 by TNB with the goal of addressing the issue of poverty and improving the standards of living in our nation. Baiti Jannati is Arabic for “My home, my haven”, and that was where we wanted to concentrate our efforts. Targeting the hardcore poor Bumiputera community, we wanted to help restore the homes of deserving recipients into more comfortable spaces that were equipped with basic amenities like electricity, water and furniture.
With priority given to the disabled, senior citizens, orphans, and single parent homes, we kicked off the program in 2007 with a RM50,000 budget that went towards repairing and furnishing seven different homes in Pahang and Negeri Sembilan. The success of this project in its first year propelled us to carry on with this effort. Since then, each year has seen even more families receiving help through the programme than the last.
In addition to funding the cost of home repairs, TNB also contributed household items and appliances to selected recipients. These additional gifts were made possible through the kind contributions of the public and some of TNB’s staff associations, such as the Pelitawanis, Kelab Kilat, Trade Union (Kesatuan Sekerja) and TNB Islamic Welfare Association (Persatuan Kebajikan Pekerja Islam TNB). Their desire to help the less fortunate did not stop there, TNB staff members also contributed their time and energy by lending their hands in the renovation and repair works for our recipients.
In what started off as a small but meaningful initiative, the Baiti Jannati project has grown steadily over the years with an annual budget that has expanded exponentially from RM50,000 in 2007 to RM5,850,000 in 2017. From 2013 onwards, we began utilising our own business zakat funds to increase the scale of this project and the percentage of people it will benefit. To date, the Baiti Jannati project has allowed 439 families to lead better lives with an estimated total funding of RM17.6 million. From repairing and rebuilding homes, we have gone on to help struggling families to finally own their homes through the Public Housing Programme (Program Perumahan Rakyat – PPR).
Living in extreme poverty can sometimes go on to affect your future and mobility. The Baiti Jannati programme doesn’t just create a brighter future for homeowners, but also for their children. With a cosy home that’s equipped to meet all their basic needs, the children can now enjoy a more conducive study environment, which will in turn lead to better academic performance and chance of upward social mobility. Our goal is to give Malaysians the opportunity to lead better lives and in the long run, go on to have futures.