DURING the recent Selayang Baru lockdown, Association of Social Services and Community Development of Gombak District, Selangor (PSPK) delivered essential items to those who needed it.
Its president Henry Sandanam said they were the only non-governmental organisation (NGO) allowed to distribute aid when the areas surrounding Pasar Borong Kuala Lumpur were put under enhanced movement control order (MCO) on April 25.
The pastor, who runs a home and skills training classes for underprivileged women and refugees, was allowed by the police and Welfare Department to deliver groceries and toiletries to those in the lockdown.
Henry’s team also distributed aid to people quarantined at blocks A, B and C of Taman Selayang Makmur, Jalan Besar, Jalan 2, Jalan 4 and Jalan 6 in Selayang Baru where his centre is based.
The full-time social worker, who is also Selayang Baru A Rukun Tetangga chairman, said about 500 families received food packs and toiletries with the help of donors and volunteers.
The aid comprised loaves of bread baked by PSPK members at the centre’s bakery since the start of the MCO on March 18 and during the enhanced MCO, which ends today for most parts of Selayang.
Due to movement restrictions, Henry did the delivery rounds alone, assisted by volunteers who sorted and packed donations at pickup points.
At the Taman Selayang Makmur low-cost flats, deliveries were carried out in batches of 50 and left at the ground floor to be picked up by the beneficiaries.
As many of the residents are also PSPK members, they ensured fair distribution of donated food and toiletries.
“Every control booth has my telephone number, in case of emergencies such as requests for medical prescriptions from patients with heart and gastric problems,” said Henry.
He said 80% of the people helped by the association were from the B40 group and above 45 years old.
Most of them are daily wage earners.
He added that once the MCO was lifted, the centre would resume its skills classes teaching the underprivileged English, computer, sewing and baking.
The association is a social enterprise offering tailoring and catering services since 2016. Its last project was a cafe established in February last year.
Henry said the association preferred donations in the form of manpower support and provisions instead of cash.
The association has also extended its skills classes to the Rohingya community, 45% of whom reside in the Selayang area as many of them were employed at the wholesale market.
“There are estimated to be 5,500 families here. Due to their refugee status, they are unable to find employment, let alone access to education,” he said.
He also said volunteers fluent in the Rohingya dialect were much sought-after.
“Most of the refugees lack general knowledge, but they are strong, hardworking and willing to learn new things,” he said.
He appealed to the authorities to help the association in its community work.
“Two years ago, the police swept the area clean of drug pushers. Now, we hope enforcement from Customs Department can look into illegal liquor shops selling cheap alcoholic drinks,” said Henry.
This is because there were some acute cases involving substance abuse such as alcoholism.
“Lack of awareness on rehabilitation programmes also prolongs the problem.
“Due to ongoing domestic abuse, the children are also often school dropouts and unequipped for the job market,” he added.