AS the haze of hesitation over the plight of Rohingya refugees lifts, Forces of Love (FoL) gushes in with an outpouring of goodwill and five tonnes of donations.
Made up of volunteers, FoL, with the help of several non-profit groups including Suriana Welfare Society, Nobody’s Club, and Council of Churches in Malaysia, organised the donation drive.
The modest band transported the living necessities to 1,109 Rohingya refugees and victims of human trafficking held at the Belantik Detention Camp in Kedah using a trailer.
FoL arranged collection centres and transportation, which Seagull Logistics Sdn Bhd offered freely, said one of the founders Yee Lai Lin.
“Forces of Love actually began as a loose coalition of friends and supporters a couple of years ago for the East Coast flood relief, then again for victims of the earthquakes in Nepal.
“But this time we enlisted the help of the Sentul Police as people seemed reluctant to take us in because of the sensitive nature of the issue,” she said.
Sentul District Police Headquarters representative Asst Comm (ACP) Munusamy Rengasamy said it was their duty to help, even to simply provide a neutral ground for humanitarian efforts.
“We don’t see colour, race or religion but human beings and it is our duty to help in whatever way we can,” he said.
ASP Edmond Wong added that in saving lives, it was not only through fighting crime, but also by reaching out to the community.
“It is to give an example to the public, showing them that we care because they are not the only ones helping,” he said.
In a show of generosity at its best, individuals, companies, religious bodies and even anonymous contributors rallied together collecting or buying everything from new clothes and school equipment to drinking water, diapers and other personal items, said FoL founder Sally Chan.
“We were informed that the Government was providing the refugees with cooked meals daily so food items were not required, but essentials such as soap, shampoo, antiseptics, towels and blankets were still needed,” she said.
According to Seagull Logistics business development director Vijaya Kumar Munisamy, they will continue shipping donated items once a week for as long as donations continued to come in.
Suriana general manager Scott J. Wong added that with their help, they cut down costs by almost half.
“We collected about RM18,500 in funds which the public entrusted us with, and the cost of logistics would have taken up RM1,500 per trip but that money can now be prudently spent on essentials for the refugees instead,” he said.
Among the collection centres are Petaling Jaya’s Council of Churches in Malaysia, Seagull Logistics in Klang, as well as the Sentul police headquarters, which also doubles up as a loading centre.