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Johan aims to put smiles on faces of ailing kids with paper planes

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by December 24, 2016 General
Spreading holiday cheer: Johan posing with a copy of his craft book.

Spreading holiday cheer: Johan posing with a copy of his craft book.

KUALA LUMPUR: For years, he has been seeing sick, underprivileged kids hospitalised for months who received no visitors.

Determined to put a smile on these young faces, entrepreneur Johan Hamid worked for months to come up with a paper plane craft book that could do just that.

“If my book could give them a bit of joy, hope, and a few hours of something to look forward to, then I think it’s very good,” said the Malaysian businessman based in Belgium.

I Believe I Can Fly – Inspirational Paper Planes of the World is a fun-filled craft book that features fold-and-fly paper plane crafts, aviation history and games, among others.

He will be spreading some holiday cheer today and tomorrow at three orphanages and hospitals here to give out copies of the book.

Johan’s “adventure” started early this year when he visited the burn unit at a children’s hospital in Cape Town and met an ailing six-year-old Zimbabwean girl with big dreams.

“She was suffering from photosensitivity, had three types of cancer and already lost one eye, while the other could barely see.

“But she had this one friend who was on a wheelchair. She would push her friend around, laughing, and having the best time,” Johan recalled.

When she told him that she wanted to become a pilot when she grew up, he said the sadness he felt nearly “killed him”.

“She has since died,” said Johan, 50.

So when he stumbled upon a plane craft book a few months later, he was reminded of her and her dreams of flying.

He started contacting paper plane designers from all over the world to get them to contribute and in October, Johan had enough material to put together a craft book using designs from four prolific designers.

The book is available in English and he aims to have it translated into other languages soon.

He is also looking for students to provide more designs for the book, which will make its rounds at orphanages and children’s hospitals in South Africa and Singapore next year.

“It’s a collaborative effort and I want to keep adding more projects for these kids,” he said.

To lend a hand in any way, drop an email to Johan at ibfmalaysia@gmail.com.

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