From young we have been constantly instilled with the values of volunteering, be it from the countless Pendidikan Moral projects to occasional visits at the orphanage. So why is Malaysia’s volunteer rates still on the down low?
Admittedly whether the issue lies at disinterested citizens or simply the lack of time/finances, these few Malaysians took it one step further by making volunteerism a constant practice in their daily lives.
We take a look at these local unsung heroes by doing what needed to be done most – getting their hands dirty with the hopes of shining a light onto social activism and making the world a better place for all.
1. Dr. Rupinder Singh
Part of the founding team for Naam Association Malaysia, Dr. Rupinder Singh has held a leadership role in setting up NAAM Clinic at Chow Kit that provides free consultation and health check-ups for the underprivileged. Not only that, this charitable organisation also organises mobile screening camps at rural areas that lack accessibility to medical services.
2. Lex Low
Barber and business man by day, volunteer by night. Twice monthly on the streets of Pasar Seni, 31 year old Lex Low can be seen weaving his way through the homeless crowd awaiting for a fresh snip from his skilled hands.
Venturing into social activism with an unfortunate diagnosis of psoriasis, things took a turn for the worse until the doctors even advised him to leave the barbering industry behind to avoid aggravating his condition. Reflecting upon fate, he then decided to take it a step further and utilise his skills for the underprivileged. Fast forward three years later, Lex even has his very own hairdressing academy that organises classes for refuge children in hopes of elevating their employability.
A natural self-starter, this ambitious young chap is famed for his hands-on approach in tackling various social issues from poverty to underprivileged children. Spearheading an impressive number of projects from Free Market (a preloved market where people can take on, exchange or donate items) to Suspended Meals (paying meals in advance for the needy), Syed Azmi is a name no stranger at the streets.
Kickstarting her foray into social activism ever since her university days, Michelle Yesudas knew exactly what she wanted – to be a human rights defender. Graduating with a Masters of Law from the University of Warwick, she made a selfless decision to come back home and kickstart her activist journey with Lawyers for Liberty, a human rights and law reform initiative that seeks to provide legal counsel and representation for those who need it most.
Since then, this lanky lass has taken on a more challenging role in Amnesty International as a Campaign Consultant from issues such as domestic public interest litigation to refugee crisis on a global level, specifically in the Southeast Asian continent.