KUALA LUMPUR – Mohammad Feroz Mohammad Zaini, 47, started his dadih (flavoured yoghurt) business under the name of Dadih Ar-Razi in 2008 and sold the product at the Ramadan bazaars in Klang, Selangor.
With the support of his wife Zurah Omar, 45, and five children, the former shipping company employee initially produced about 20 small plastic containers of dadih daily.
â€œOn some days they sell like hotcakes, on other days I don’t even sell one. There have been instances when one person bought the whole lot,â€ said Feroz as he recalled his early days selling the dadih.
One day a customer requested Feroz, who is also known as Abang Long, to prepare dadih for him to distribute to the less fortunate. That was when he started thinking about helping people to do their voluntary charity (sadaqah) during Ramadan by distributing the dadih himself to the needy.
All that Feroz’s customers had to do is place an order for the dadih and Feroz would deliver them to the required location or the needy in his list.
DADIH FOR THE ASNAF (POOR)
Feroz’s dadih distribution programme is now in its sixth year running, giving the poor a delicious treat to look forward during breaking of fast.
In 2014, the programme handed out 5,000 containers of the yoghurt to the needy, orphanages, the disabled, madrasah, surau and mosques around Klang.
He used the list of those deserving help that he obtained from the state assemblyman’s office in distributing the dadih during Ramadan.
â€œPeople will bank the money into my account and send an SMS to me with the code ‘dadih’ and I will arrange for delivery to the recipients in my list,â€ said Feroz who added that most of the contributors do not want to reveal their names.
Every day during Ramadan Feroz sends the yoghurt to up to eight charitable homes. He allocates two containers per person living in each home.
Prior to delivery he will contact the home operator and ensure the number of residents as well as set the delivery time.
BUY FOR CHARITY
Realising his limitations in terms of production and logistics, Feroz focuses his programme in Klang and several areas in Shah Alam.
Now Feroz is capable of producing up to 500 containers of dadih a day. The container retails for RM1.20 per piece, 10 sen cheaper than last year.
â€œIt’s GST price,â€ he said in jest without explaining further when asked about the price drop.
Because his product comprised 80 percent milk and is free of preservatives, it could only last up to five days if kept in the refrigerator.
For deliveries, the dadih is transported to customers and the needy using his motorcycle.
SOCIAL WEBSITE FACILITATES OPERATIONS
Starting 2011, Feroz began using his Facebook account to share his daily experience as a dadih seller. His stories, which are usually laced with motivation provides readers with lessons in life.
At the same time, Feroz’s friend Norden Mohamed, who coaches him in writing, proposed that he utilised the Facebook platform to improve his charity dadih programme.
Taking the proposal positively, Feroz decided to use the tagline â€˜Siapa nak bersedekah? (Who wants to donate)â€™ before changing it to â€˜Siapa nak tambah pahala?â€™ (Who wants to earn more rewards) to promote the programme.
As a result, matters that were conducted over the phone are now being done online, which makes it easier to manage the programme and improve transparency for each transaction.
â€œThings are easier now. There’s WhatsApp and other applications and Abang Long does not mind how people contact to donate. What is important is that the donation reaches the target recipient,” he said.
FROM DADIH TO BOOKS
Little did Feroz know that his posts on Facebook would attract the interest of several publishers to compile his statuses into a book. His partnership with Legacy Publishing gave birth to his first book titled â€˜Aku, Dia dan Rezekiâ€™,
(Me, Him and Rewards) with a total of 179 pages, which was launched at the International Book Festival 2015.
When this article was written, the book received a 4.5 star rating on goodreads.com, an international book review site.
Feroz who wrote his posts on Facebook to share positive stories and as a reminder for himself and his readers, did not deny that he had gone through rough patches in life.
However, he would write on a piece of paper whatever bad experience he had been through and discard the paper.
Writing is nothing new to him. During his days as a blogger he had the chance to go for writing courses organised by PTS and Karangkaraf.
Besides Norden Mohamed, he was also mentored by popular novelist Sri Diah.
Asian food enthusiast Chef Wan Khairul Hakimin Wan Muhammad said Malaysian dadih was unique as its preparation was different from those in other countries.
In areas such as Pagar Ruyung, Indonesia, dadih comes in the form of yoghurt made of cow or buffalo milk and is used in food cooked by the Minangkabau people.
In Malaysia, dadih has a pudding texture and comes in flavours like corn, mango, strawberry and more.
In Thailand the dadih is similar to a jelly and uses no milk, said Chef Wan Khairul.
For people suffering from gastritis and heartburn, dadih is considered as a good starter for breaking fast as it soothes stomach discomfort after a day of fasting.
According to The Asian Parent website, dadih is also recommended for pregnant women who usually experience heartburn in their first trimester.
For those interested in contributing dadih to those in need, they canm contact Feroz at 019-2254910. – BERNAMA