Malaysian indigenous community receives food aid from RYTHM Foundation
The clear sky was a welcome change for a group of volunteers from Persatuan Kebajikan Saudara Perak (PKSP) as they arrived at the Pulau Banding jetty, in a remote interior part of Perak state in Malaysia.
For days, heavy rain had dampened their effort to deliver food supplies to some 40 families of five villages at Pos Kemar settlement, PKSP’s Advisor and Team Head of Survey, Mobilisation, Special Projects and Logistics Hubert Thong Choong Khin said.
“Initially, we wanted to send the supplies via road but they were closed and unusable because of the weather. So, we didn’t have any choice but to send it via a two-hour boat ride from Pulau Banding jetty,” Hubert said.
“We were disheartened to see the submerged roof and sunken boats when we arrived at the jetty. But we had to work fast in transporting the supplies onto boats because of the long journey ahead,” he said.
The families were in poor shape, reaching starvation level as the recent floods had destroyed their natural food source and crops. The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown further worsened their condition.
The supplies consisting of food and health item such as rice, milk, tea leaves, dry noodles, sugar, salt and oil as well as face masks are expected to support each family for a period of three months.
RYTHM Foundation has been working with PKSP as part of our Community Adoption Programme (CAP), a special initiative that aims to break the poverty cycle in communities of interest with strategies that leverage on their local resources and to educate and support the community towards self-sustaining and empowerment. The CAP is expected to run for five years.
RYTHM Foundation head Santhi Periasamy said the objective of the programme is to help the community become self-sustaining in the long run.
“However, the community’s basic needs such as hunger and malnutrition as well sanitation problems have to be first addressed before we venture further,” she said.
The food aid for the community is an initiative by the RYTHM Foundation, called Gift of Life, which supports underfunded government schools, orphanages, and welfare institutions for the disabled and disadvantaged.
“We hope this aid would at least temporarily address the health and food needs of the community especially during the double challenges of lockdown and flooding,” Santhi added.
Each month, the Foundation identifies a worthy cause, conducts due diligence on it, and recommends it to be a beneficiary of the Gift of Life Programme. The Foundation then further helps with the disbursement of funds and monitors progress of the funded cause.
If you are aware of a cause or run an organisation that may benefit from the Gift of Life programme, please email your proposals to [email protected]