PETALING JAYA: Instead of waiting for the government to provide assistance, ordinary Malaysians have stepped up to help those particularly hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Orang Asli community in Taman Negara has been affected by another round of movement control order, said Kechara Soup Kitchen operations director Justin Cheah.
Kechara has been providing the Orang Asli with basic necessities such as rice and cooking oil, he said.
“Dependent on eco-tourism implemented by the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa), their income took a hit after the border closures. Heavy rains have also made it harder for them to find food, ” Cheah said.
Kechara Soup Kitchen had also helped other communities by providing their children with back-to-school necessities, he said, adding that life has become more difficult for families, especially single mothers with more than one child.
“The urban poor find it hard to buy basic necessities for their kids to prepare them for school. It is very kind of the public to support our initiative, ” he said.
Kechara set up a fundraising campaign in November 2020 to buy school supplies for underprivileged children. So far, 80% of donated items had already been delivered to families, he said, adding that only donations to Negri Sembilan and Bentong, Pahang, had yet to be channelled due to logistics issues arising from floods and MCO being in place.
“We also gave water bottles, face masks, hand sanitisers and food containers, to complement the items they already have, ” he said.
Nick Honegar Mokulou, a pastor from PCS Pekan Pitas in Sabah, has been helping 236 families in his community, whose problems have been compounded by the recent floods.
“Some areas were affected by landslides so the villagers can’t come out without a 4WD vehicle.
“We gave them some dry goods such as instant noodles and tinned food to tide them over for a few days before more aid is provided by the government, ” he said.
Civil servant Tengku Zahaslan is offering his house to those in need of shelter because of the MCO.
“When the MCO announcement was made, I felt like the mood on Twitter wasn’t good. So I thought of a way that I could help.
“I thought of my house that was sitting there collecting dust. I realised that it was the only way I could offer some help to others, ” said the 36-year-old who is currently doing his PhD in New Zealand.
Zahaslan said he initially offered the place to a person having problems returning to Sarawak but this plan fell through.
“I’m going through some of my Twitter messages now. I have not offered it to anyone as yet because I wanted to evaluate whether people are genuine.
“I’m looking at those facing flight and travel disruptions and who need a place to stay temporarily. I’m planning to offer my house for them to stay, for free, ” he said.
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