Equipping Orang Asli with Covid-19 prevention kits

HLISB representatives providing Covid-19 prevention educational materials to Majlis Penasihat Pembangunan Kebangsaan Orang Asli (MPPKOA) chairman Mohd Rizal Alias in Air Bah, Perak.

In the ongoing battle against Covid-19, Hong Leong Islamic Bank (HLISB) reached out to three Orang Asli villages in Perak, Pahang and Negri Sembilan to ensure that the communities there have access to pandemic prevention resources.

Through its “HLISB Turun Padang” initiative, the bank distributed “new normal starter packs” as well as educational resources on Covid-19 prevention, which will benefit over 1,000 indigenous people.

The packs aimed to help Orang Asli communities in Kampung Orang Asli Bah Sawa in Perak, Bukit Serok in Pahang and Sungai Sempo in Negri Sembilan to better equip and protect themselves.

For the initiative, HLISB partnered with The Asli Co, a social enterprise focusing on providing sustainable incomes for Orang Asli mothers and Suri, a denim upcycling social enterprise that works with single and underprivileged mothers with employment opportunities, as a means to uplift Orang Asli and vulnerable communities through economic empowerment.

The Asli Co provided hand sanitisers and reusable face masks, which were produced alongside Suri.

HLISB chief executive officer Jasani Abdullah said, “We have a responsibility to be inclusive in our approach when extending a helping hand to vulnerable communities as well as to ensure they have access to Covid-19 prevention essentials and the necessary knowledge to do so, as part of our collective efforts to curb the spread of the virus. This is especially relevant now with the recent rise in cases.

“Our Orang Asli communities possess a wealth of untapped knowledge that we risk losing, should there be an uncontrollable outbreak of the virus within the community.

“Beyond just preventative measures, we are helping them preserve their way of life to be able to continue passing down their wisdom to future generations.”

The initiative also saw the bank providing educational materials and Covid-19 prevention best practices to the elders of the Orang Asli villages to raise greater awareness of the virus among the indigenous community.

HLISB representatives also touched on good hygiene practices, proper use and care of reusable face masks as well as proper disposal methods for disposable face masks to avoid pollution in rural areas.

“With a single outreach and corporate social responsibility initiative sourced from zakat funds, we are able to create a ripple effect by not only protecting the Orang Asli communities and their way of life, but also empowering the vulnerable communities under The Asli Co and Suri with economic opportunities to help them survive these tough times,” said Jasani.

“This is how we can #KitaJagaKita to build and support a vibrant community, while contributing to economic and public health recovery.”

The children from the Orang Asli communities were not left out, as the HLISB team also contributed toys, plasticine, notebooks and snacks to the Tabika Kemas located in these villages to uplift their spirits and bring a little joy into their lives amid the public health crisis.

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