COMING from a humble background, Dr Ko Ko Win knows what it’s like to live through hard times and can empathise with those in need.
The 76-year-old, who is among the few remaining doctors from Myanmar living in Penang, runs a private clinic in Pulau Tikus.
He has also been busy helping out the Myanmar community in the state.
Along with several volunteers from the Yaung Chi Oo welfare organisation (which started in the Mettananda Burmese Temple in Paya Terubong), Dr Ko has been buying and distributing essential food items since the movement control order came into force in March last year.
“Initially, we distributed food to only the Myanmar community here but the aid has now been extended to other needy groups,” he said at his clinic.
“There are more than 20,000 Myanmar nationals living in Penang now.
“Many of them work in the food and beverage sector while some work at construction sites, plantations and factories.
“However, due to the pandemic, some have lost their jobs and cannot provide for their families.”
Dr Ko, who also gives free consultation and medication to those unable to afford them, said the movement started when a group forked out money to buy the items.
“Eventually, more people came to donate goods, and even cash.
“Many families from Myanmar approach us for help and they give us a list of their essential needs so our money won’t go to waste.
“We are always in need of rice, oil, eggs and onion.
“The community members are helping each other and they value the importance of brotherhood and friendship during these hard times,” he said.
Electrician Bobo Aung, 50, the leader of the volunteer group, said he helped to pack and distribute essential items.
“Some kind-hearted people donate food items to us in bulk and we repack them to cater to the needs of different families.
“As long as we have sufficient supply, we will give to all those who need them,” he said.
Those who want to donate can call Dr Ko’s daughter, Win Win Htet (012-925 9365).