The following article was originally written by Senior student Nurin A. (’22), who spent the past summer organizing an online fundraiser in light of the Malaysian movement ‘Bendera Putih’ or ‘White Flag’ to help those facing financial difficulty during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nurin is also President of the ‘Rotaract Club of Bukit Kiara Sunrise,’ a KL-based youth-led initiative dedicated to youth development fellowship and community service, and this fundraiser was part of her Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project.
Following Nurin recollects her experiences and challenges working on the initiative. Congrats again to Nurin on a job well done!
Waving the White Flag – A #BenderaPutih Fundraiser
by Nurin A. (’22)
As we are well aware, COVID-19 has brought many families new levels of extreme hunger, economic hardship, and loss of livelihood. Therefore, in light of the #BenderaPutih movement in July 2021, our club conducted an online fundraiser to support essential items such as long-lasting foods, sanitary items, baby milk, baby diapers, and other necessities.
With the help of our club members’ efforts in promoting the fundraiser and the power of social media, we successfully raised approximately RM20,000. It was a learning experience for us to conduct a fundraiser at this scale. Several meetings were held to brainstorm ideas such as putting together cost-efficient “bags” of groceries to provide for the families where the quality of the bags was a priority and purchasing commonly used foods with a total of RM40 being allocated per family. To achieve this, we bought food from four different suppliers. The items in the bag included: cooking oil, rice, eggs, sardines, bread, cream rolls, bihun, maggi and mi sedap. We also added other necessities upon request.
Once the items arrived, 10 of our club members in Sri Hartamas came together (while socially distanced) to sort the food items into reusable, eco-friendly bags for distribution. It took us approximately 6 hours to complete the sorting, and we faced challenges like the rain. Although exhausted, we were super proud of ourselves for packing a total of 250 food bags together!
Unfortunately, we faced restrictions in the distribution process due to police roadblocks at the time. Therefore, we collaborated with NGOs who have established access and connections to the B40 communities in Segambut, Sungai Buloh, and Cheras. We obtained police approval to allow our member volunteers to send the items. These experienced organizations helped us ensure the credibility of recipients while limiting the movement of our members.
Additionally, we were heartbroken to learn that babies were dropped off at hospitals due to the hardships of the pandemic, as parents could not afford to take care of them. As we know that baby items are expensive, we sourced a portion of our donations to purchase 124 packets of baby milk and 100 packets of baby diapers to Kembara Kitchen, who started BabyAid to support these hospitals, as well as PERTIWI Kitchen. We also purchased 300 packs of sanitary pads in collaboration with SERUM Initiative and MBKJ Cheras to distribute to women in high-density urban poor flats (PPRTs) and refugees.
Finally, RM1,000 from our project was allocated to a wonderful initiative helping 250 single mothers in Langkawi. The remaining was sourced to the Rotary Club of Bukit Kiara Sunrise’s Covid Emergency Relief Fund (CERP) 3.0 Project.
We are immensely grateful for the overwhelming support for our project, and it was inspiring to see everyone come together to help our people in need during these trying times. Witnessing first-hand the struggles faced by these families was eye-opening, and we hope to continue supporting them in future projects. As always, #kitajagakita #rakyatjagarakyat!
Creativity, Activity, Services (CAS) is part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) at ISKL, where students undergo real-life experiences shaped through collaboration towards a common goal and vision. It is a personal journey of self-discovery and identity development that complements academic learning by experiential learning. It offers students opportunities to explore their interests, skills, and talents and discover new ones. Read more about the IB program here.