DRIVEN by the desire to assist the less privileged, a group of like-minded entrepreneurs and business owners have come together to form the Malaysian Social Entrepreneurs Foundation (MSEF).
Established in April 2021, the foundation focuses on three main areas, namely educational support, developing well-rounded social leaders to implement and improve public welfare and helping the disadvantaged.
MSEF president Datuk Seri Lee Kar Whatt said the foundation’s efforts and plans actually began about one and a half years before its establishment.
“One of our intentions was to influence enterprises to come together to unite our resources and strengths to assist the community and B40 groups through targeted initiatives. All they have to do is set aside a portion of their profits to contribute to the foundation.
“We have raised approximately RM30mil so far, where about RM10mil have been used for various initiatives such as free meals distribution, medical equipment contribution to hospitals and educational support for students.
“We have a shared responsibility to look out for the community and lend a helping hand to those in need,” he said in an interview.
Lee added that the foundation hopes that those who benefitted from their programmes to pay it forward and do some good for the community as well.
The foundation’s deputy president, Datuk Chan Wah Kiang, said since starting their free meals distribution programme on July 29, more than one million of mainly halal packs of free food have been given out to the needy.
“With the help of about 100 volunteers, the free meals were distributed at 130 locations nationwide for lunch and dinner to ensure that the less privileged, those home quarantined and those who lost their jobs will not go hungry.
“When the programme first started, most of the food packs were snapped up within 30 minutes, which led us to increase the quantities to feed more people,” he shared, adding that MSEF plans to continue the food distribution programme nationwide until the end of September.
However, for certain identified locations, such as places that still have a low vaccination rate, the free food giveaway programme will continue until the allocated funds have been fully utilised.
“Through this initiative, we also came into contact with various old folks’ and children’s homes and realised that they faced financial issues due to the lack of donations during the pandemic.
“As such, we decided to channel RM300,000 to 32 charity and welfare homes throughout the country to help them get by,” he added.
Besides that, Chan noted that MSEF also contributed RM1.85mil worth of oxygen concentrators, consumables and other medical equipment to 10 hospitals, especially those handling daily Covid-19 cases, throughout the country.
Touching on the foundation’s top priorities, MSEF executive director Aki Chong Li Chin said last year, the junior chef programme was introduced in two primary schools in Jementah, Segamat for students to learn new skills through cooking.
She explains, “MSEF emphasises the importance of education to build a better future for our children and country, which is why we placed education support at the top of our focus areas.
“In the junior chef programme, the students explore new things through food preparation, which makes learning a more fun and enjoyable process.
“After the programme, we realised that the students also picked up good values such as gratitude, taking the initiative to help out more at home as well as appreciation for their parents.”
Chong added that these positive qualities could change a child’s outlook in life as well, noting that MSEF hopes that the beneficial programme could be introduced to more schools soon to enable students to discover their hidden talents.
On the topic of education, she said the foundation also aims to continue offering scholarships and education loans to students in need, as well as assist schools to improve their libraries and their gradual digitisation journey through long-term projects.
Meanwhile, the foundation’s vice-president Datuk Nelson Tan said MSEF, along with Eco-Shop Malaysia Sdn Bhd and private equity firm Creador, has donated RM6mil to help 6,000 Chinese independent school students with unpaid school fees.
He pointed out that the pandemic has impacted many families, with parents facing pay cuts and job losses, which affected their ability to pay for their children’s school fees.
“At the same time, schools were also struggling to pay the teachers’ salaries and administrative expenses.
“In order to assist them, we decided to jointly channel RM6mil so RM1,000 will be allocated to each of the 6,000 students,” he said.
Tan said the foundation also thanked Eco-Shop, whose managing director is also MSEF president, as well as Creador founder Brahmal Vasudevan for their generosity.
MSEF encourages more enterprises and business owners to join them in their efforts to spread positivity and assist needy communities.