Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash
Today’s rapid increase in modernisation and industrialisation has brought about significant changes in Malaysian society. With ongoing structural changes in the economic aspect, we have further expanded to changes in social and political elements.
This upward shift in social and political aspects in society can be attributed to a myriad of factors—from changes in lifestyle, the heightened awareness of individual rights to the realisation of collective power. However, these advancements tend to focus on urban societies, with marginalised communities often being overlooked, leading to discrepancies in economic advances.
This is where community development plays a massive role. It is an essential component of pursuing economic progress; community development encourages the active involvement of more privileged and capable members of society to aid and assist the underserved.
As Malaysia strides forward in its pursuit to make its communities stronger through community development initiatives, here are some NGOs that are actively involved in the betterment of communities:
1. SOLS 24/7
“We need to rally the people online with a war cry. The same way we have #KitaJagaKita for the SMEs, perhaps we should have #KitaAjarKita for education” —Raj Ridvan Singh, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SOLS 24/7 Education.
Founded in 2000, SOLS 24/7 opened its first headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, in 2012. With a vision to provide the bottom 40% of the population – regardless of race, religion or gender – with access to free education and social empowerment services, SOLS 24/7 aims to initiate developed societies that hold equal opportunities for all.
To date, SOLS 24/7 has trained over 500,000 students in English, IT and character development, established 100 training centres and a team of over 200 members from more than 50 countries.
Through a free education programme that specialises in English, Digital Tools and Personal Development, SOLS 24/7 hold a vision of high-impact, long-lasting social change.
They believe that in order to break the cycle of poverty, we first have to break the mindset. Through their Community Centres, they provide hard skills to underprivileged communities and change their approach to life, enabling their students to recognise opportunities towards achieving a better future.
As a non-profit organization, they rely on support from volunteers in order to help reach and serve more B40 communities across Malaysia. If you are proficient in English, SOLS 24/7 offers the opportunity to volunteer as a teacher, with a commitment to a minimum of 3 months.
You can further read about their volunteering program here.
2. SPOT Community Project Malaysia
“It takes one person to break a destructive cycle of violence. I believe that by influencing one person’s life, positively, we can replicate that experience and influence many more.” —Siti Aishah Hassan Hasri, Founder of Spot (Soroptimist Puberty Organising Toolkit)
Established in 2015, Spot was a movement started to equip girls of all ages with confidence and resilience to make informed decisions regarding their physical and mental well-being. In addition, spot aims to create awareness for puberty management, feminine care and sex education among female adolescent in Malaysia.
In a community where sex education is often stigmatised, Spot aims to remove the embarrassment and fear around the subject. Through relevant information, Spot is working towards producing knowledgeable individuals that hold a positive attitude towards reproductive health. They hope to promote social development through carefully designed modules that utilise a socially sensitive approach.
Since its establishment, Spot’s modules have reached 10,617 girls, in 79 schools and six states across the country. An initiative that views volunteers as a backbone of what they do, Spot has in its time been aided by 133 volunteers, who have donated a total of 2,500 hours.
Spot is constantly on the lookout for passionate, driven and professional individuals to aid them in their work towards developing communities and empowering young people.
Find out more on how you can volunteer here.
3. PERTIWI Soup Kitchen
“Let us work together to help those who have fallen through the cracks.”—Datuk Munirah Abdul Hamid, Founder, Pertiwi Soup Kitchen
PERTIWI Soup Kitchen project was established in 2010 to provide regular meals at various locations around Kuala Lumpur on a regular basis. One of Malaysia’s longest-running NGOs, with the support of corporate and individual sponsors, Pertubuhan Tindakan Wanita Islam (PERTIWI) is one of Malaysia’s largest community outreach efforts.
With the aim to provide humanitarian food-aid service to the homeless and impoverished communities, PERTIWI has not failed to be present at their three feeding locations four nights a week since their establishment in 2010. By interacting with various destitute inner-city communities on a regular basis, they further provide support to individuals that are ready to become more independent.
Some of PERTIWI’s social missions and welfare activities also include providing literacy skills, education awareness seminars, providing medical aid to remote villages, sponsorships for educating foster children, and equipping single mothers with new skills—amongst other programmes.
To find out more on how you can become a part of this project, contact them here.
4. SERUM Initiative
“Youths might not have the financial capabilities to contribute, but they have so much more to offer in making an impact collectively.” —Shy Kit, Founder of Serum Initiative.
As some of us had the privilege of enjoying the safety of our homes and the abundance of hygiene products -sanitisers and masks- many grappled with the calamities that the pandemic bore.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, three young Malaysians found it their duty to help the underserved in their community. With a virus enraging the world, and most of all, harshly targeting underprivileged communities, Serum Initiative stepped in to provide hygiene kits to communities in need during this ongoing pandemic.
Since its inception in April of 2020, the Serum Initiative has done remarkable work. They have donated 2,454 litres of sanitiser, 412K face masks and have partnered with 30 large and small organisations, one of which is Village Grocer, to further their reach and empower vulnerable groups during this pandemic.
Through their work, they hope to continue honouring their mission in making hygiene kits accessible to all while expanding into diverse forms of socio-environmental change.
Find more about how you can get involved, contact them here
5. Beyond Bins by Biji-biji
“We want to empower the people, provide them with the means to improve their livelihoods, and at the same time tackle the plastic waste issue.”—Juliana Adam, the CEO of Biji-Biji Initiative.
Beyond Bins is a flagship project initiated by Biji-Biji Initiative. In a world rapidly moving towards irreversible climate change—Biji-Biji presents solutions starting in your very own backyard. With that in mind came the inception of Beyond Bins. We aim to create a circular economy where waste is valuable and essential in developing alternative sources of income for underprivileged communities.
Through this initiative, we have transformed 22,717kg of waste into functional products. With Beyond Bins, we embody the practicality of sustainability.
In essence, through this initiative, alongside our community partners, we arrange for plastic recycling machines to be placed in underserved communities, such as remote villages, Orang Asli villages and islands. Providing them with recycling facilities, along with training to create recycled plastic products.
Through Beyond Bins, we not only aim to create a mindset shift towards sustainability but provide additional and alternative income opportunities. We hope to expand our reach to other marginalised communities and housing settlements, including low-cost housing areas (PPR, KPKT), B40 income groups, schools and more.
Check out our Beyond Bins site or click here to discuss exciting collaborations.