Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, wife of PM Tun Mahathir Mohamad, has asked well-wishers to not send the pair any more congratulatory gifts for winning the elections two weeks ago. Instead, she, while grateful, has asked kind Malaysians to donate them to charity. The message was conveyed through their daughter Marina Mahathir, who shared it on her Facebook.
It’s a rule in Pakatan Harapan government that no politician is allowed to receive gifts other than flowers or food. If you’re thinking of donating to a charity or volunteering your time at a NGO – especially with the Raya season just around the corner – here are some organsiations to get you started.
The NGO aspires to work towards banishing urban poverty and spreading awareness of the issue, with a food bank initiative as a most commendable stepping stone. Driven by the plight of the urban poor, they set up a food bank of their own, delivering monthly groceries to families in need in Sentul, Ampang and Jalan Ipoh, in Kuala Lumpur, based on the database of the previous food bank programme.
How you can help: Contact the organisation to find out what supplies are needed for the food bank. You can also volunteer your time to deliver Food Bank items to families under the programme. If you’re pressed for time, make a monetary donation to the NGO.
The late Reverend Young founded advocacy movement Dignity & Services with his friends Datuk Dr S C E Abraham and Dr Denison Jayasooria, who was also a social activist. Its aim was to act and speak on behalf of and alongside people with learning disabilities, especially in situations where their voices go unheard. The organisation focuses on working with young adults as “Young noticed that those who had completed their formal or informal schooling faced difficulty in assimilating into the mainstream community”, Dignity & Services executive director Helen Teh explains.
How you can help: The organisation has two businesses: Bake with Dignity or One-Two Juice. You can either patronised the juice bar at the courtyard area of Wisma Selangor Dredging in Jalan Ampang or purchase baked goods at Bake with Dignity (Ed: Raya cookies, sorted!) via their website. Dignity & Services always need a helping hand – volunteer your time at the office or in one of its various activities.
Founded by Mohd Adli, the café located at iM4u Sentral in Puchong was established in 2016 to help secure the future independence of youth with autism. Adli, who has an autistic son himself, hopes the café will serve as a training centre for the youths, who can learn to deal with day-to-day activities and interact with customers. This will not only hone their communication skills but also give the public a better understanding of their condition.
How you can help: The café occasionally supplies food to office workshops or sells their goods at bazaars. Look out for their schedule on their Facebook or call Mohd Adli to find out how they can cater for your event. ACP is also taking orders for their Raya cookies that are especially made by the youths and their families.
Driven by the simple philosophy that every child matters, Yayasan Chow Kit protects the rights of children and teens by providing them with holistic opportunities so they can reach their full potentials. For example, the children are equipped with entrepreneurial skills so they can sell food at a fundraising run to raise awareness about child sexual abuse. The NGO caters to two different age demographic: The Pusat Aktiviti Kanak-Kanak provides a nurturing environment to children from 7 to 12 years old, while the Kuala Lumpur Krash Pad offers children from 13 to 18 years old with alternatives to risk behaviour that may expose them to negative influential activities.
How you can help: In the past, the NGO launched the ‘A Smoother Journey Campaign’ to raise funds for a new van to shuttle the children to school, as well as the #backtoschool campaign for the public to donate stationery and school uniform for the children. Look out for new campaigns on their website or make a monetary donation.
The NGO states on its website, “We recruit our country’s rising generation of leaders to be part of the solution to the challenges faced by our communities today.” Teach for Malaysia has set out to end education inequality by recruiting graduates and young professionals to be full-time teachers in high schools through its two-year Fellowship programme. That’s not all, they also work alongside its alumni who continue to drive systemic impact in education at all levels of society.
How you can help: Volunteering as a teacher is not the only way to help the NGO (in fact, you are also studying towards a Post Graduate Diploma in Education, which qualifies you to continue your career in teaching after the two years). You can also volunteer in their fundraising activities, make a monthly donation or ‘Pledge Your Birthday’ by supporting other charities, social enterprises and personal causes.
Words also by Shalini Yeap.