PETALING JAYA: Malaysia, like the rest of the world, is currently undergoing a crisis like never before, with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing many to stay home for their own safety.
However, while most Malaysians can afford to stock up on supplies, there are marginalised and underprivileged groups that are in desperate need of help during these trying times.
Thankfully, help is on the horizon as initiatives like CovidCareMy gear up to support these vulnerable communities.
An initiative formed by the Development of Human Resources for Rural Areas (DHRRA) organisation, the coalition of 21 non-governmental organisations provides provisions and necessities to groups in need of assistance.
Speaking to FMT, Sathish Ramachandran, advocate and CovidCareMy volunteer, said that the coalition provides food, medicine, monetary aid and psychological support to households in need.
The initiative took root when the movement control order first began in mid-March, when DHRRA received calls for financial support from underprivileged and vulnerable households which depend on a daily wage.
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“In addition, psychological support was also provided as communities were calling us to express their anxiety and fear of losing their income and managing this overwhelming situation,” said Satish.
As NGOs came together to pool their resources, CovidCareMy was formed with the hope of reaching Malaysia’s most vulnerable communities.
The initiative’s outreach expands across the country, covering both East and West Malaysia, with 5,636 families and 26,787 individuals having received aid from the organisation.
In particular, CovidCareMy reaches out to those in the B40 and M40 groups who live hand-to-mouth, the elderly who require prescribed medication, as well as refugees and other undocumented communities.
Sathish, who helps the organisation raise funds, has long been involved in community development initiatives and is thus acquainted with the many NGOs involved with CovidCareMy.
“They are a hardworking, committed and dedicated group of people and I have tremendous respect for their energy and enthusiasm,” he explained, adding it was only natural tha he too volunteer to assist the team.
Despite its best and noble efforts, CovidCareMy still faces several challenges in executing its goals.
Sathish said that it was common that whenever CovidCareMy arrived at a low-cost housing area to distribute food, families who did not previously contact the organisation would crowd around to ask for aid as well.
“Sometimes, the numbers can be in the hundreds,” said Sathish. He also added that an alarming number of families are also at risk of eviction due to delayed rental payments.
Hence, CovidCareMy relies on the kindness of the public to help the initiative continue its philanthropic efforts.
According to Sathish, even young children have been generously doing their part.
“They have been emptying their little piggy banks to support our initiative and in return, CovidCareMy now issues Compassionate Child Award e-certificates to appreciate them.”
Even now with the MCO having been eased, CovidCareMy expects to continue supporting those who are unable to keep their jobs or return to work.
CovidCareMy will also shift its focus to support vulnerable communities, by enrolling them in development initiatives that will help them build their socioeconomic resiliency.
To donate to CovidCareMy, click here or donate to the Persatuan Jaringan Pembangunan Manusia Luarbandar Malaysia fund (RHB Bank 21247900045100).
If you are in need of aid or know someone who is and would like to contact CovidCareMy, call their hotlines at 012-2058703 or 017-7803054.