“My husband barely has enough money to buy us food. We don’t have enough savings to support our family. The food supply we received from COVIDCAREMY is a huge blessing and will help ease our burden during this quarantine period,” she said when she received help a few days later.DHRRA Malaysia’s director for Social Protection, Maalini Ramalo explained that with limited resources, especially with restrictions in place, attending to the large number of requests is tough. “We face challenges when we distribute the food items at the low-cost housing areas where people who did not call and ask for help earlier crowd around the distribution officer and ask to be included as well. “Sometimes, the numbers can run into hundreds,” she said adding that police road block and heavy rains in recent days have also been hampering their distribution efforts. DHRRA Malaysia also noted the many families are also seeking help to pay their home rental. Under the COVIDCAREMY programme, the organization is trying to raise funds from institutions and other donors to continue their work. For those interested in contributing, please visit DHRRA’s website and submit the sponsorship pledge. To date, together with 20 other non-governmental organisations, DHRRA Malaysia has identified over 6,000 families who need dire help during the Covid_19 pandemic and has assisted them with food and grocery items, free transportation to hospitals, dialysis centres for treatments and to replenish prescription medicines.
Nor is a 49-year-old waitress and the sole breadwinner for her family of five. She lost her only source of income when the restaurant she was working at was closed following the Malaysian Government’s movement control order (MCO) in response to Covid-19, since March 18, 2020. While the frontliners were busy fighting the coronavirus, Nor who has five dependents has been fighting her own battles to provide for her family. When she found about the COVIDCAREMY, an initiative by Development of Human Resources for Rural Areas (DHRRA) in Malaysia, and a partner of RYTHM Foundation, she called their hotline and explained her family’s situation. Through COVIDCAREMY, DHRAA has been coordinating relief efforts for the poor and the marginalized groups who have been hard hit by the restrictions. They distribute food boxes that contains essential dry food items to last a family of four, for up to 10 days. Each food box comprises items such as rice, sugar, condensed milk, flour, noodles, biscuits, tea powder, curry powder, salt and baked beans. RYTHM Foundation has contributed 500 rice packets of 10kg each to DHRAA’s efforts. The rice is distributed to daily wage earners, the elderly and foreign workers in Klang Valley, Malaysia. After completing verification and confirming Nor’s situation and her family’s needs, Nor was able to receive food supplies to get her family through the next few weeks.