In 1988, MSRI introduced the MSRI Sponsorship Programme of Palestinian Children – a programme that was specifically aimed towards helping Palestinian refugee children living in Lebanon – following the Lebanese Civil War. The effort continued with the support from Government Trustees, which included the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Welfare Department. It was through this programme that MSRI – an organisation founded by the late Dato’ Dr. Alijah Gordon, whom was known for her tenacity and passion for human rights – has successfully gained its recognition as an NGO that provides humanitarian support to displaced communities, particularly children. Despite having shifted towards a more localised practise in aid delivery (i.e refugee communities in Malaysia) over the last years, the cause remains the same, which is to serve and empower communities affected by displacement.
For the upcoming Universal Children’s Day that falls on 20 November each year, MSRI plans to organise an event on 18 November which not only celebrates the occasion, but also honours the late Dato’ Dr. Alijah Gordon for her dedication towards building MSRI into an organisation that it has become today. This event will be centred on the following themes: children, displacement and resilience, stringing together Alijah’s invaluable contribution towards addressing issues linked to the themes. Named as “Children of Her Legacy: Malaysian Social Research Institute”, this event will enable us to encapsulate these themes, whilst acknowledging Alijah as the main driving force behind the growth of her “child”; namely MSRI.