PETALING JAYA: Members of the Malaysian Association for the Blind have been left in hardship again under the movement control order which has left them without the means to earn any income as massage therapists.
With their daily wages cut off, the MAB has launched an initiative in collaboration with the Asia School of Business to send food baskets to some 3,000 blind masseuses who have been forced to cease their activities.
“We hope kind-hearted people come forward to give in cash or in kind to help those in the blind community who haven’t been able to earn a living,” MAB chief executive George Thomas told FMT.
He said that each package is worth around RM125 and contains provisions like rice, noodles, oil, milk and other staples, and hopes it can ease the financial strain many are now faced with. The project has already raised over RM70,000 as of yesterday morning.
Without any idea as to when these masseurs could be allowed to resume their services, MAB said it hopes to be able to replenish stocks when it is needed.
“Each package would last a family of four or five about two weeks,” Thomas said.
When the first MCO was implemented last March, spas and massage parlours were shut down for over 100 days until reopening in June. They were one of the last sectors to get the green light from the government.
Subramaniam Ramiah, who runs a traditional blind massage business with his wife in Shah Alam, said they are afraid of what the future entails.
“During the first MCO, we lost out on around RM1,600 a month on average,” he said.
Being unable to work during this current MCO and unsure when it will end, he said his family is relying on their RM450 monthly disability allowances to cover essential expenses such as rent, utilities and food.
“As a blind person, there’s very little else we can do. Obviously, we can’t become Grab drivers or do delivery, and we can’t get jobs in security. Even for people who want to go and sell things like tissues, it’s very difficult at the moment.”
Thomas said he hopes the visually-impaired community can also receive additional cash stimulus from the government, as many are struggling to cover their essential expenses.
Those interested in donating to MAB can find their information below, and donors will receive a tax exemption receipt if they provide their transaction slip, name, address and contact number to [email protected].
Bank Name: Maybank Berhad
Name: Malaysian Association for the Blind
Account Number: 514057637836
Swift Code: MBBEMYKL
Reference note: covid19 ASB
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