PROVING that the timber industry has as much warmth and inviting qualities as the characteristics of wood, the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) raised RM150,000 for two non-governmental organisations (NGOs), at the Council’s recent charity dinner themed “Timber Industry with a Heart.”
The fundraiser brought together members of the Malaysian timber industry to contribute and celebrate the positive efforts by the two NGOs to help the unfortunate members of society rebuild their lives.
Childline Malaysia and Kechara Soup Kitchen each received RM75,000 from MTC, through donations from sponsors, partners and well-wishers.
The cheques were presented to the respective organisations by Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin and MTC chief executive officer Cheah Kam Huan.
“In line with the charity dinner’s theme, the donations received truly reflect the high spirit of giving and caring among fellow timber industry members, MTC’s fund managers and the related service providers,” said Hamzah.
“In our current economic environment, it is our responsibility to reach out and support the community whenever and wherever we are. Consumers are more than likely to support businesses that they can associate with good causes. So giving back to the society by making donations and helping the needy, be it individually or through corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme, can be mutually beneficial and profitable,” said Hamzah.
This was the first major fundraising activity for Childline Malaysia (CLM), which will be officially launched in October.
A national public safety project, CLM aims to protect and safeguard children’s interests by launching a dedicated telephone line to provide a listening ear for children in need.
Spearheaded by a group of volunteers, CLM is a non-profit initiative by a group of social NGOs and private individuals. Childline Malaysia is strongly supported by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, Unicef, the Royal Malaysian Police, Health Ministry and Child Helpline International.
Childline Malaysia vice-chairman Richard Rodwell said, “For those children in need of care and protection, our aim is to link them to both short and long-term aid, care and rehabilitation, through a support network of services provided by our government agencies, UN agencies, NGOs and community-based organisations. Through your support and kind donations this evening, the Malaysian Timber Council will begin to make a real and sustainable difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in Malaysia and help us take a step to realising our goal of enabling ‘all children in Malaysia to be heard.” Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK), meanwhile, is formed by volunteers of all ages, from all walks of life, faiths, cultures and backgrounds. With its activities rapidly outgrowing its current premises, KSK’s next step is establishing a permanent Soup Kitchen building as an urban centre for the distribution of hot food and provision of basic medical treatment for the homeless, whilst continuing to provide food delivery for those who are unable to come to the centre.
KSK’s long-term mission is to reduce the number of homeless people living on the streets by providing a nurture centre for basic care, training and assistance, and to help the homeless seek employment and re-enter mainstream society.
“With this significant contribution, it is not only financial support we are receiving but also an endorsement from an esteemed council of respected individuals like MTC. Thanks to the support of generous Malaysians like everyone here tonight, we have just bought a building off Jalan Imbi. It is an old building, about 80 years old, so it is undergoing major renovations at the moment,” said KSK Malaysia president Ruby Khong.
“Since 2006, we have fed more than 50,000 hungry stomachs. Our main objective is to help our clients off the streets by finding them shelter homes and jobs. We want to help them bring dignity back to their shattered lives. Feeding them is our first step to knowing them, their needs and understanding their plight,” added Khong.
Earlier in his welcoming address, Cheah said, “The Malaysian Timber Council believes in the causes advocated by Kechara Soup Kitchen and Childline Malaysia. We hope that the funds raised during our dinner will help to contribute towards the advancement of their causes, and ultimately enhance the well-being of the community as a whole.”
Platinum sponsors for the charity dinner were Aminvestment Management Sdn Berhad, CIMB-Principal Asset Management Bhd, Hwang-DBS Asset Management Sdn Bhd, KAF Fund Management Sdn Bhd, Malaysian Furniture Industry Council/Malaysian Furniture Entrepreneurs’ Association, MIFF Sdn Bhd and Aberdeen Asset Management Sdn Bhd. The Gold sponsors include the Timber Exporters’ Association of Malaysia , Public Bank Berhad, Towers Watson Sdn Bhd, Fairs Connection Sdn Bhd and Happy Homes Realty.