“Many of those we met were happy to see us and wanted to talk as they had not been in contact with people for a long time. However, we had to maintain social distancing and limit our conversations as we had a time schedule to follow and deliver all the food items,” she said.“One of the things I learned from this is that many people may be hungry and need food, but they are actually hungrier for human contact and touch,” she added. Zainab, 35, has four dependents including children. Her husband works abroad to provide for their family. She was very worried about providing for her children during this time as they had next to nothing in the house. She says the groceries and food items came at just the right time. “May Allah reward you abundantly,” she told the volunteers as the food items were given to her. Salman, 24 stays with his sister and aunt and was working as a labourer as and when work was available. With the shutdown, there is no more work, and hence no income. “Since everything is closed, we have kept the aid items aside and are intending to use it carefully and wisely to last us the entire month of Ramadan,” he says.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage the lives and livelihood of people around the world, one of the most neglected and hard-hit segments of the society are the refugees and migrants. Extending a helping hand to this marginalised group, RYTHM Foundation joined forces with the Malaysian Social Research Institute’s (MSRI) Sahabat Refugee Project, to provide them with much needed support during these difficult times. Most of them no longer have an income and are restricted in their ability to support themselves or their families due to the government lockdown. To help them manage food during this period, the Foundation has provided dry food supplies to over 100 beneficiaries who live in Ampang and Gombak areas in Selangor and are registered under MSRI’s education programme. These food items are non-perishables such as rice, flour, sugar, salt, spaghetti, tomato puree, canned beans, dry beans, canned milk, milo, tea, biscuits, instant noodles, cereal and cooking oil and should last them for a few weeks. MSRI’s Operations & Education Programme manager Andrea Fernandez said although there were 500 refugees registered with them, they had to choose the 100 most vulnerable.