Charity groups hit hard by pandemic

Murugaiyah (standing left) with some of the residents at the shelter in Taman Saleng Indah.

KULAI: Charity organisations are facing financial constraints since the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) on March 18, to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Johor Baru Handicapped and Mentally Disabled Association president S. Murugaiyah said the pandemic has affected the association financially.

He said donors and well-wishers had either stopped giving donations or reduced their contributions due to the uncertain economic situation.

“The pandemic has caused problems not only to businesses but us as well, ’’ Murugaiyah said at the shelter in Taman Saleng Indah near here.

He said donations in cash and kind started to come in during the recovery MCO in June, although the amount was lower compared with pre-Covid-19 days.

Murugaiyah said the money received helped to pay electricity and water bills as well as pay the 50 full-time staff their salary.

“Our monthly expenses are about RM150,000. We care for 240 residents at our Kulai shelter, aged between eight and 50 years, ’’ said Murugaiyah.

He said apart from Kulai, the association also has shelters for handicapped children in Banting, Selangor, Bukit Baru in Melaka, Kuantan in Pahang and Kuala Terengganu.

Murugaiyah said it needed funds to run the shelter in Selangor, that has 60 residents and the Melaka, Kuantan and Kuala Terengganu shelters that each have 40 residents.

He said the Johor Social Welfare Department has given RM120,000 financial assistance to the Kulai home during the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that it also receives RM350,000 in aid yearly from the Federal Government.

Persatuan Kebajikan Sinar Sofia Johor Baru (PKSSJB) founder Rahayu Rahmat said donations for the charity body has declined by 90% since the start of the MCO.

“We cannot do much about it at the moment as everyone is affected due to Covid-19.

“Hopefully things will get better in the near future, ’’ she said.

Rahayu said PKSSJB needed about RM3,000 monthly to run the shelter for women in Taman Makmur near here.

She said presently the shelter housed only two women and their two children and could not take in more due to financial constraints.

Rahayu said prior to the pandemic, the shelter had seven residents, adding that five left the place to start a new life.

“We have about 10 women on the waiting list but unable to accommodate them, ’’ she said.

Ark Centre administrative volunteer Poow My Ying said plans for an annual dinner on March 28, to raise funds for the hospice centre, was postponed due to the MCO.

She said the event was postponed to March next year.

“We hope the pandemic will be contained by then.

“We normally raise about RM250,000 from the annual fundraising dinner and the money is used for our operating expenses, ’’ said Poow.

She said the centre still received donations but the amount had declined significantly.

The centre in Taman Sutera, Johor Baru provides quality care in a safe environment for terminally ill cancer patients.

It has nine full-time nurses, three administrative staff and several volunteer doctors.

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