An 84-year old philanthropist who earns RM20-RM30 a day….all for charity

This may have nothing to do with animal caregiving, but it’s relevant to what we promote – Being contented with enough for oneself and selfless giving for the benefit of others.


Yang Yu Lan diligently stitches bits of cloth, which she collects from neighbours, into floor mats. The 84-year-old grandmother’s sewing machine has broken down, so she hand-sews these mats, which she sells or trades for essential items like shampoo, toothpaste and soap with sundry shop owners.

As dawn breaks, she tends to her farm and she harvests what she can for sale at the morning market in Sungai Pelek, Sepang. Despite her advanced age, she cycles 3km to the market on a nearly two decade-old but trusty bicycle with her crop of ladyfingers, spinach and sweet potato leaves, which will earn her RM20 to RM30 daily. The bicycle has seen better days, and so has her humble abode of 56 years.

Yang is not poverty stricken, nor is she neglected by her adult children, who have done well for themselves. The true salt of the earth has a clockwork routine as she works the land in the morning with a pick, shovel and hoe, sells vegetables at the market, and stitches floor mats in the afternoon before returning to work on the farm again in the evening. She does all these, not out of need, but in order to raise enough money to donate to charity.

Although she doesn’t fit the image of a typical philanthropist, Yang is without a doubt an exemplary benevolent old woman, who gives credence to the oft-said statement that the poor are often the most generous people because they know what it is like to be without anything.

Yang has given all her disposal income in the last 10 years to charity. She has donated over RM40,000 to more than 10 charitable, educational and religious groups including schools and dialysis centres, apart from down-and-out individuals desperate for help. “My next plan is to donate RM3,200 to a local dialysis centre, and I am saving up for that day. I am only able to save at most RM200 monthly, I still have a long way to go to meet my next target,” she says.

Kudos to you, Mdm Yang!!

Anyone interested in sewing patchwork blankets for charity? I can teach you!!






5 responses to “An 84-year old philanthropist who earns RM20-RM30 a day….all for charity”

  1. Amy S

    I always wanted to learn.. when when>> ??

  2. loh lay peng

    Dear Sis,i m fr Pg,how do I learn?Thank you.

  3. chankahyein

    Just type “patchwork” or “quilt” on Google and you will get thousands of youtubes that teach you from scratch!! They range from basic to advanced.
    Here’s an example:
    Happy patchworking and may your efforts bring happiness to charity!
    You will need a roller cutter, a cutting board, a sewing machine (or you could sew by hand) and patience!

  4. Chen

    Have you thought of a sewing circle? This is what people do in the old days to make the sewing faster and more fun. A group of like-minded people gather to work on a sewing project as a team. A patchwork blanket can be finished in one day. Also of course, during sewing, there will be sharing of stories and food and expert tips.

    1. chankahyein

      That would be fun. However, I find much difficulty committing to face-to-face appointments as I’m frequently called up for some sort of emergency or another. Like today, I’m scheduled for a talk but a rescue case came up so I had to frantically get a replacement speaker for the talk.

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