The Hidden Price of a Pandemic, in Malaysia

Rapid response to a crisis

Recognizing the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic upon the most vulnerable communities, Global Shepherd Berhad (GSB), Kuala Lumpur and Good Shepherd Services (GSS), Sabah co-ordinated a rapid and practical response. This story describes the project:  Distribution of food & care packs to vulnerable communities, from 18 March - 12 May 2020.

 

Photo - Food packages loaded, ready to be distributed in Kuala Lumpur

 

Background

When a pandemic occurs, other than the obvious care for the people affected by the virus, we are constantly reminded of the cost to businesses, to the economy and to the coffers of the country.  In Malaysia, a Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented to stem the Covid19 and all offices and businesses were closed.  Some business ceased operations altogether.

We all pay the price, some have lost jobs and others have taken pay cuts.  But the most affected have been those who are daily wage earners who work in construction sites, restaurants, plantations, farms and informal sectors.  In most countries, the people most impacted have been the migrants and asylum seekers.   When a crisis happens, the communities and the country goes into a tribal mentality that brings out the very basic human need to survive.  Its negative effect is xenophobia.

Many of the people that our organisation serves have been impacted, not just by access to basic necessities but also a fear of leaving their homes due to the risk of being apprehended by the authorities, the enforcement officers. The 1 May Labour Day detention of migrants and asylum seekers in Malaysia further exacerbated this feeling of fear.

Mission revisited

With funding from generous donors, Global Shepherds (a company set up the Good Shepherd Sisters in Malaysia), undertook the mission of distributing care packs to these vulnerable communities. The packs consisted of basic food essentials such as rice, sugar, oats, flour, canned food, eggs, as well as milk and sanitary pads.  

The initial funding was raised by our lay mission partners in the early phase of MCO, a whopping RM26,000-, in a very short period of time!

Full Report including other photos

Click here -  2020 Response to vulnerable communities in Malaysia

An uncertain future....

This project fed more than 3,000 children amongst all the migrant families visited. With their only source of income obliterated by the Movement Control Order, families are really left with very little. Uncertainty lies ahead, some may have permanently lost their jobs.  The same predicament is faced by the refugee and asylum seekers as well as many Malaysians in the lower income bracket. The social and economic cost of the pandemic will be high and the highest price paid by the vulnerable in our midst. 

 

Submitted by Wilhelmina Mowe, Executive Director and

Michele Rozells, Communications Officer of GSB.

 

"Go after the lost sheep without other rest than the cross,

other consolation than work, other thirst than for justice." (St Mary Euphrasia)