Malaysian NGO and SGHA winner helps urban poor with grocery needs


Great Vision Charity Association’s Shopping Buddy programme helps needy families with their grocery needs. Photos: The Star/Samuel Ong

This story is part of a series of articles featuring past Star Golden Hearts Award winners and the award’s newly introduced categories of causes which include community empowerment, education, environment and wildlife, social welfare, and disaster and crisis relief. Nominations for this year’s award are now open. Tell us about your heroes at www.sgha.com.my before July 31, 2022.

Instead of a staple diet of sardine, omelette and rice, homemaker Norizan Razallan, 38, can finally look forward to serving more nutritious meals to her family.

The mother of one received boxes full of groceries recently, thanks to non-governmental organisation (NGO) Great Vision Charity Association (GVCA), or Persatuan Harapan Mulia, a sister NGO of Great Heart Charity Association that emphasises the importance of education and awareness in transforming our society.

Great Heart Charity Association was one of the 10 winners of the Star Golden Hearts Award in 2020. The annual award by The Star and Yayasan Gamuda celebrates everyday Malaysians who make a positive impact in society while promoting unity.

“My husband doesn’t earn much as a security guard. He gives me RM350 to manage our monthly grocery needs.

“It’s hard to buy many items as food prices are increasing. We can’t afford to buy beef or chicken as they are too expensive,” said Norizan.

Norizan (right) and her son Muhammad Wafiq Darwish (centre) are grateful for the grocery aid received from Yuen, who represents GVCA.Norizan (right) and her son Muhammad Wafiq Darwish (centre) are grateful for the grocery aid received from Yuen, who represents GVCA.

Norizan was among 35 underprivileged families from PPR Pantai Ria in Kuala Lumpur who received their grocery wish list items from Shah Alam, Selangor-based GVCA on June 25.

Under the NGO’s Shopping Buddy programme, each family listed necessities and groceries worth RM200 that they needed.

Norizan is happy with the assistance as it helps to relieve her financial burden.

“There are times when I hardly have any money left towards the end of the month.

“Thankfully my son understands our financial situation and doesn’t complain about eating simple meals.

“My husband and I are grateful to the NGO for helping us during these challenging times.”

Shopping Buddy has been a monthly programme conducted by GVCA since its inception in 2013. GVCA representatives selected the 35 beneficiaries after considering their financial background and living environment.

During the recent grocery shopping exercise, 25 volunteers headed out to the nearest supermarket to purchase the items bfore going to PPR Pantai Ria to distribute the groceries to the recipients.

GVCA managing director Yuen Juin Hoe, 40, said each grocery list contained different items based on the needs of each family.

“We are trying to encourage families to have a balanced diet so we have shopped for items that include all the good food groups like protein, carbohydrates and fibre.

“It is important for people to help the poor, especially in the current economic times because (food) prices are increasing and people are struggling with their day-to-day life.”

Among the volunteers present that day were Star Media Group (SMG) staff and students from Sunway University.

The initiative is part of SMG’s Star Volunteer Programme, aimed at promoting volunteerism and contributing to society.

Volunteer Rozina didn't mind travelling from Seremban to participate in GVCA’s Shopping Buddy programme.Volunteer Rozina didn't mind travelling from Seremban to participate in GVCA’s Shopping Buddy programme.

SMG’s senior administration executive (Seremban office) Rozina Din, 51, didn’t mind travelling all the way from the southern city to participate in the Shopping Buddy programme.

“I’ve been involved in SMG’s charity work for 10 years.

“Charity work provides me with an opportunity to help underprivileged communities. I didn’t mind the long drive from my hometown because I know I would be doing a good deed for the day.

“Plus, I am also happy to meet my colleagues who are here for a good cause,” she said.

SMG’s print support manager Krishnamurthi Peramban 61, concurred, adding that volunteer work cultivates a spirit of giving and sharing among his colleagues.

Krishnamurthi (left) says charity is a noble deed and it must come from the heart.Krishnamurthi (left) says charity is a noble deed and it must come from the heart.

The father of three has been participating in Star Volunteer Programme activities since day one.

“In the span of a decade, I have helped to build houses for Orang Asli communities, painted charity homes and packed goodie bags for SMG’s volunteer projects.

These volunteer efforts have been filled with fun memories.

“Charity work is a noble deed and it must come from the heart.

“I always feel happy knowing that I have done something positive to help another fellow Malaysian, regardless of race or religion.

“I encourage more people to do their part for underprivileged communities who are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic,” said Krishnamurthi, who lives in Taman Datuk Harun, Kuala Lumpur.

GVCA is on a fundraising drive to raise RM450,000 for their charity programmes in 2023. Donations can be sent to CIMB 8003600877 (Persatuan Harapan Mulia).

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