Dignity for Children Foundation (Dignity) provides quality education for the underprivileged and marginalized to break the cycle of poverty.
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1. How do you choose the recipients?
Our teachers are in touch with our students to gather information on which family need help and we register them in our list. Our Welfare team also included the needy families that Dignity supports with groceries on a monthly basis. We have also included families which are especially vulnerable – those with elderly head of families, single parents, people with disabilities, etc.
2. How much food have you distributed?
We have given out food packs to 79 families last week (as of 21st March 2020). Our distribution and deliveries (as some families are unable to come to the centre due to the MCO and finances) continues this week. At the moment we have 105 families requesting help and the list is growing by the day.
Other than Malaysians, the families also include refugees from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar plus Rohingyas. We also provide food packs to our own staff who are in the B40 category.
3. What are in your packs?
They consist of mostly staples like, rice, flour, oil, potatoes, milk, chocolate drink, 2-3 canned food, noodles, vitamin C, etc. The composition is based on our past experience – when we distributed food to families in need during year-end and Raya. As mentioned before, we also listen to their needs and adjust as we go along. We also include sanitary products as and when we get donations of such products.
4. How do you source the food and other items?
We buy them from our usual suppliers whom we had used for our previous distributions. There are donors that have sent some essential items via Grab over to our centre as well.
5. How do you make sure that you are not spreading the virus while doing the distribution?
We practise non-contact hand-over of the items and only a handful of staff are involved for this distribution to remain social distancing and safety. The items are packed and put out for the families to collect over a staggered time frame.
6. What about the safety of those who deliver and come to collect?
We are using Grab for delivery and those who come to collect are using their own transport.
7. How much help have you received so far?
We are thankful for the positive response from the public who has given more than RM50,000 already. There had also been donations of food and other cleaning and sanitary items. We maintain a list of all the donations and donors will be given receipts. Also, details of recipients of the donated items are recorded and their photos taken accountability and as proofs that donations are put to use for their intended purpose.
8. What are your future plans?
For the families that we are targeting, the difficulties they face will not end with the lifting of the MCO. This week, and the following month, more families will be running out of the necessities. When the MCO is lifted, it may not be as easy to find jobs because of the economic impact. As long as we have the donations and resources, we hope to be able to help them on the journey of recovery.
We have budgeted RM200 for each family we help. Our greatest challenge now is funding because it is not just us or the families we hope to help who are impacted but those in their communities as well.
Everyone is feeling uncertain and, admittedly, under such circumstances, raising funds and asking for donations is a great challenge. But we will persevere as I know that there are still extraordinary people out there who will lend a hand.
For our students, our vision is to break the cycle of poverty through education. Once the situation changes and school can restart, we will be working to help the students remain in school. Probably more will be needing financial help to stay in school. We do hope that there will be those who will stay on this journey with us to ensure the children have the education needed to change their own lives and their families.