PETALING JAYA: Differences in religion and race did not deter local woman Kalavathy Rasalingam from contributing hundreds of shawls, or head coverings to female Muslim flood victims.
Speaking to mStar, Kalavathy said the shawls came from her unsold stock in 2018 and that the pieces of fabric were kept in storage and still in good condition.
The 48-year-old entrepreneur said she had originally intended to gift all the shawls to her Muslim friends, but never had a chance to do so.
"I always thought about giving the shawls to my friends but because of our packed schedules and we rarely meet, I never got around to it and that's why I still had this large stock of unsold shawls.
"I thought I only had about 200 pieces of shawls but it turns out I had more than 380 pieces. All of them were still in plastic bags and are still in good condition.
"Maybe there's wisdom in me not giving away the shawls to my friends until now. So I thought that I have to do something for the community," she said.
Kalavathy added that contributing head coverings for Muslim women affected by the floods was necessary, as many victims had been left with only the clothes on their back.
"I know that Muslim women must cover their heads. So I believe that contributing shawls is a good move at this time," she said, adding that the shawls will be handed over to flood victims in Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam and Karak, Pahang with the help of volunteers.
Besides shawls, the mother of two is also helping to contribute packed meals and essentials to flood victims at various other flood-hit locations.
With cooperation from the Shirdi Baba temple in Batu Caves, Selangor, Kalavathy and about 15 volunteers helped to prepare food for flood victims.
"I buy the groceries and cook. Actually, the temple contributes breakfast, lunch and dinner to those in need.
"So, the flood incident gave me the idea to cook with other volunteers before the packed meals are delivered to the locations in need," said the Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan native.
Since Monday, over 800 packs of vegetarian food had been delivered to Taman Sri Muda, including 100 packs to Dengkil, Selangor during the post-flood clean up work.
Kalavathy, who runs a beauty treatment centre in Prima Sri Gombak, Batu Caves, said that the contributions to flood victims did not come from her alone, but were also given by friends, volunteers and individuals.
"We contribute essentials such as shampoo, soap, cleaning detergent and preloved clothes," she said.
Kalavathy added that the floods had shown the true humanitarian spirit of Malaysians.
"When disaster strikes, don't think about race, instead think about humanity. For those of us unaffected by the floods, we must help those in need and collect good deeds.
"If we feel that our life is difficult, we have to remember that there are those who have it tougher than us. So, just keep moving and help everyone in need regardless of race and religion," she added.