Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK) is led by a dedicated committee of people who are passionate about what they do. The KSK committee has grown KSK’s services from a distribution of 20 food packets per week back in 2006, to more than 850 packets per week. In September 2010, this went one step further when KSK opened our permanent soup kitchen. Today, alongside our regular weekend distribution service, we also serve 180 people everyday, on Mondays to Fridays.
|Vice President||Julia Tan|
|Secretary||Chuah Su Ming|
|Treasurer||Ooi Beng Kooi|
|Committee Member||Justin Cheah|
|Phng Li Kim
Each food distribution route is headed by a Team Leader, whose responsibility is to ensure that:
- No new volunteer goes operational until a General KSK Volunteer Guideline Form is completed
- Every volunteer has attended a briefing session
- At least one member of the team is first-aid trained
Kechara Soup Kitchen’s Project Director is Justin Cheah who ensure that
- All food is collected, delivered and packed
- All Team Leaders have a medical First Aid Kit and that it is fully stocked at all times
Meet the committee
Henry Ooi Seong Huat
I was in the skincare business for more than 15 years before I joined Kechara to manage its retail stores in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya and Penang. I am now heading the Kechara Forest Retreat, a 35 acre land located in Bentong, Pahang. I work with a small but great team to expand on the current facilities and amenities to cater for visitors when Kechara Forest Retreat opens to the public.
My wife Angel and I have two beautiful and wonderful children, 18 year old Beatrix and 16 year old Edward.
As the newly elected president of Kechara Soup Kitchen, I shall work closely with the committee members and the hard working volunteers, and the operation and administration staff and volunteers to provide more aid and relief to the homeless and needy in Malaysia.
I am a single mother of two teenagers, as well as a successful professional Gemologist (GIA). I’m always thinking of ways to enrich my life, things that can benefit both my two growing children as well as others.
By helping the people on the street and volunteering in Kechara brought to me lots of new experience in my life. It gives me lots of joy and happiness that I never had before by seeing the smile and changes of people’s lives. It warms my heart when my children started to follow and get involved by knowing they are in the right path. This is the biggest value of life I can share with my children and others. In Kechara, I found the purpose of my life.
Chuah Su Ming
I have known H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche since 1992 and through Rinpoche’s encouragement, I started to volunteer at Kechara Soup Kitchen in 2007 when we were operating from the streets of Bukit Bintang. I joined Tsem Rinpoche’s household and private office (Tsem Ladrang) in 2008. Previously, I was working for Bacardi-Martini Malaysia and also Loreal Malaysia for a period of 9 years.
Over the years, I have learnt a lot about the homeless from Rinpoche. Rinpoche taught us about their psyche, their feelings, their needs and wants. Rinpoche would know where they would shy themselves away from society, and it was Rinpoche who would often spot them during our countless journeys around town. There were many times way before Kechara Soup Kitchen started, when Rinpoche would often take us down to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to feed those who had nothing. I used to be amazed at how Rinpoche could spot a homeless person from afar, as I would not be able to. It was only later when Rinpoche explained that everything stems from care that I learnt. It is when you care, you will notice others. And with that note, I am glad I am able to be of service to others.
Ooi Beng Kooi
A qualified electronics engineer who used to test cars for a living, I started volunteering in Kechara Soup Kitchen even before its official inception in 2008. I was part of an informal group who believed in the vision of Kechara’s founder, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche, who wanted to create a community action group that would better the lives of the homeless and underprivileged.
Being on the streets has opened my eyes to the suffering that exists right under my nose. There is nothing like watching an elderly man fish leftovers out from a dumpster to open your heart and put your own problems into perspective. Through Kechara, I have made new friends, done good works and found a new purpose in life. I hope many more will be able to experience what Kechara has to offer, beginning with the simple act of giving food, care and hope to those less fortunate than ourselves.
Originally from Perak, I came to know about Kechara Soup Kitchen since it first started serving food to the homeless and needy in 2008. I was very moved and felt very fortunate to be involved with all the activities all these years. Volunteering in KSK makes me feel very happy and it is really better than just spending my free time doing nothing. I was also very fortunate and honored to be elected as one of the committee member in Kechara Soup Kitchen.
I love the spirit of giving and helping the poor very much. I grew up in a poor family and maybe that was how I learned to give more to the needy people. Many of my friends did ask me from time to time about things that would make me happy. I would just simply answer by saying the feeling of fulfillment after doing charity work such as Kechara Soup Kitchen’s food distribution rounds. Nothing beats the feeling of watching the homeless clients waving goodbye to you with a full stomach.
It is also very encouraging when you see some of our clients already left the streets and slowly moving back into the society either through KSK’s help or self initiated. I believe if we work even harder, we will be able to help many more to get off from their current situation. I hope more and more new sponsors and volunteers will join in to help ‘fight’ for our meaningful cause.
Phng Li Kim
Celebrity Host of the popular TV series The Paranormal Zone, I have been a student of H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche since 2009. When I first met Rinpoche, I was taken by his vision of creating a spiritual haven for the people. I sincerely believe that everyone should be spiritual so that we can all achieve our final personal objective in life, which is to be happy and at peace with ourselves. Therefore, without thinking too much I became a part of the Kechara family.
Besides hosting TV, I am also the CEO of the publishing arm in Kechara and a member of the Board of Directors. I take my dharma career seriously and fuel it with passion because what I do matters to others and can change lives. Taking this same attitude, I am honoured to be a part of Kechara Soup Kitchen’s committee, and wish to serve the homeless and poor better by working closely with the team to expand our reach in KSK.
A former full-time housewife, and married with three grown-up kids, I have been a student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche for nearly 20 years. During this time, I benefited a lot from His Eminence’s teachings and activities, so in 2010 I decided to leave my comfort zone. With His Eminence’s blessings, I established and now manage Kechara Paradise Penang.
A few months later, I decided to set up Kechara Soup Kitchen in Penang, to feed the homeless and urban poor. A Penang native, I was saddened to see the plight of the homeless on our streets and wanted to do something to help them. As my purpose is to share what I have learned with the public, I decided to share what I have learned about compassion in the most active way I know how.
I started volunteering in Kechara Soup Kitchen with my family in 2009. My husband and two kids, then aged 11 and 15, enjoyed spending most of our Saturday nights together doing something “different”. Together we packed food, met other volunteers, went out in small groups to give food and other basic items to members of the homeless community in parts of central Kuala Lumpur, then reflected and exchanged experiences after. It was very enriching for our mind and soul to spend some time focusing on other’s needs. H.E. Tsem Rinpoche has once said, “Don’t focus on your good deeds and swell up your ego; remember what the homeless have helped you with “ and I wholeheartedly agree. The homeless have certainly humbled us and made us grateful for all that we have. It has done so much good for my kids and their worlds have become more real.
I would like to encourage everyone, families, individuals, corporate groups, religious groups, anyone out there to spend some of your private time and resources with charities and helping those suffering and underprivileged. It will enrich your life and provide you a sense of gratitude and calm that is hard to obtain elsewhere.