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10 Year Old Maryam Saves Lives Through Her Art Pieces

Maryam Khairul Anuar was six years old when her parents discovered her talent in art after an occupational therapy session.

When my husband and I first saw her painting, we knew she had a talent that we could nurture. Sharifah Sarah Syed Mohamed Tahir, Maryam’s mother[1]

Since then, Maryam found peace and tranquillity when painting. She started to explore different art mediums such as acrylic paint and applied different techniques such as finger painting, using swabs and sponges aside from brushes. Her occupational therapist, Nur Izzati Yazid journeyed with her throughout.

Source: Mstar

In particular, on days when Maryam felt inspired, she could produce multiple masterpieces within a short span of two hours. 

If Maryam is in a good mood, Maryam can produce multiple paintings in just two hours! – Sharifah Sarah, Maryam’s mother[2]

What started as an extension of occupational therapy became Maryam’s passion and her creative outlet of expression. 

In the creative aspect, she chooses everything herself … When she’s happy, she plays a lot with colours like pink, blue and yellow. – Sharifah Sarah, Maryam’s mother[2]

Maryam’s art pieces became an extension of herself and elements of nature such as rainbows, sky, trees, flowers and stars often cropped up in her paintings. Her inspiration to paint on a daily basis is according to her mother’s flavour of the day. 

Maryam mainly paints for her Ummi (mother). She would often ask what would be her mom’s flavour of the day. – Sharifah Sarah, Maryam’s mother

Nothing Limits Maryam’s Passion For Painting 

Despite being diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Maryam and her two siblings Hamza and Faruq were instilled with the importance of helping others. No matter how small or big the contribution is. 

It is important for Maryam as well as our other two children to know that they can help others, even if it is just with a smile. In whatever they are involved in, we want them to ask themselves what impact they are making on others around them. – Sharifah Sarah, Maryam’s mother[1]

Source: Manis Madu

To the delight of her parents, her paintings have adorned their house and there is no more space to display them. 

Maryam really loves to draw. She used to make 30 more drawings and there is no space to keep them. My husband and I decided to sell them for charity. – Sharifah Sarah, Maryam’s mother[2]

But the family knew it was better to channel Maryam’s passion for good, that’s how Maryam’s Saves A Heart campaign was established. Her initial fundraising campaign helps to raise funds for children in need of surgeries at Institut Jantung Negara. Maryam is also contributing to the refugee children through the Tiny Gold Hearts Project

Source: Mstar

Painting For Charity

One in every 100 newborn babies in Malaysia suffers from congenital heart disease or congenital heart defects (CHD). From this number, one in four babies are in a critical state and in need of surgery in the first year of life[3]

According to IJN, 80% of paediatric cases treated at the institute belong to lower-income families that require both treatment and logistics funding[4]

However, as shared by Maryam’s mother, Sharifah Sarah, there are children who are less fortunate. 

Due to the lack of funds, some children die before they could get treatment at IJN. Sharifah Sarah, Maryam’s mother[2]

At the same time, refugee children are denied healthcare rights. Refugee children who are in critical condition and require surgery or medical intervention are in a limbo of both financial lack and access to healthcare services. 

Maryam’s father,  Dr Khairul Anuar Abdul is a paediatric cardiothoracic surgeon in IJN and is actively involved in providing cardiothoracic surgeries for refugee children through the Tiny Gold Hearts Project found a need to channel funding to ensure children with heart diseases have a chance to receive the best possible chance of survival through surgery.

Source: Mstar

With that in mind, MSAH is a team effort with her father, Khairul delivering the art pieces and her siblings manning the social media platforms. Through their recent auction, RM80,000 was raised for Tiny Gold Heart and IJN by selling 95 of Maryam’s artworks at a price range of RM100 and RM5,000 on MSAH’s Facebook and Instagram accounts[2].

A Future Set For Maryam

One of the major concerns of parents tending to Person With Disabilities children is ensuring their children would live independently in the future. It is also Sharifah Sarah’s hope that Maryam would be able to earn an income through her artworks.

For each art piece sold, 20% of the proceeds are kept for Maryam’s future whilst the rest are channelled to charities such as Maryam’s therapy centre; Kiwanis Down Syndrome Centre in Petaling Jaya[2].

Maryam is very proud of her artwork. She often takes the opportunity to share with others her artwork though she is generally a very reserved young lady. – Sharifah Sarah, Maryam’s mother[2]

Source: Mstar

Despite being reserved by nature, Maryam is happy to put herself out there for a cause larger than herself. Maryam is set to organise her maiden exhibition in June 2022 in order to showcase her work and auction them to the charities she supports. 

Maryam loves to be celebrated. She is always waiting for the opportunity of a photo session with her work and telling about her paintings. One of the enhancements of its development is by celebrating the success done. It gives her confidence and motivation. – Sharifah Sarah, Maryam’s mother[2]

For every artwork purchased from MSAH, it isn’t just appreciating Maryam’s efforts and boosting her confidence but also giving second chance to children with heart disease to live. 

It is important for Maryam to know she is contributing to society and making a difference despite her limitations. We also want buyers of Maryam’s artwork to feel they are making a difference for a greater purpose. – Sharifah Sarah, Maryam’s mother[2]

To the young Maryam, there is so much more that she has set her heart on and with every brushstroke of hers, she hopes more children would be saved through Maryam Saves A Heart Initiative

Explore our sources:

  1. K.Yang. (2021).9-Year-Old Down Syndrome Artist Raise RM80,000 For Children In Need Of Surgery. Wadd.Link
  2. MStar. (2021). Budak Down Syndrome dikurnia bakat melukis luar biasa, mampu kutip RM80,000 bantu kanak-kanak pelarian sakit jantung. Link
  3. R.S.Bedi. (2021). One in every 100 newborns suffers from congenital heart disease, says Health Ministry. The Star. Link 
  4. A.Azaman. (2019). 80 peratus kanak-kanak terima rawatan di IJN perlu bantuan dana rawatan. Astro Awani. Link

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