The Covid-19 pandemic which began sweeping across the world about a year and a half ago has thrown into sharp relief the role of NGOs in helping those affected by the crisis, whether financially or socially as the various lockdowns and health measures imposed to curb the spread of infection continue to spark concerns over mental well-being.
Among the many striving to do what they can is Happy Bank, a youth-based volunteer organisation.
Each day, its members who hail from a variety of backgrounds pull out all the stops to help the underprivileged and socially neglected.
Its founder Ainie Haziqah said since its inception in 2014, the group had helped thousands of people from all walks of life.
“We help everyone without looking at race, religion or nationality,” she told MalaysiaNow in a recent interview.
“We believe that the assistance we offer may help those who have lost their jobs or had their salaries cut, or who are no longer able to work due to any number of reasons since the pandemic hit.”
Volunteers from the organisation can be found throughout the country, including in Sabah and Sarawak.
Some of them work online, handling administrative matters like record-keeping and data collection and collation.
Others are part of the logistics team who get in touch with suppliers for the delivery of daily necessities and ensure the delivery of these goods to those in need.
This also helps delivery riders whose services are employed to distribute food baskets and other items.
“We help them make a little money, not much perhaps but at least something,” Ainie said.
Logistics can be tricky these days as their target areas include those under movement controls as well as the strictest of all lockdowns – enhanced movement control order or EMCO.
“An area can be under EMCO, and many people there asking for help. That can be challenging, but thankfully we have a good working relationship with the welfare department, including the local authorities, which helps ensure that the items reach those who need them,” Ainie said.
When it comes to money matters, the organisation takes only public funds.
“Our funds are 100% from the public,” Ainie, a former Women’s Aid Organisation lawyer, said.
“There are some corporations that contribute as well, but we are very careful about funds-related matters.”
As is the case with many other NGOs, money is always tight. But so far, Happy Bank has been able to get by.
One of its most recent initiatives was the contribution of basic necessities including food supplies for 64 families in the Subang Hijauan flats in Subang, Selangor.
Many who received the supplies were low on cash, unable to work or struggling to get by.
Similar efforts have also been made in areas such as Ampang, Petaling Jaya, Cheras, Beranang, Puchong and Gombak.
Aid is likewise channelled to those in many other states including Sabah where a team is headed this week to deliver supplies to 53 families in Semporna.
Contributions to Happy Bank can be channelled to Maybank account number 568621000906.