Ever since the pandemic started, the financial capability of various NGOs in Malaysia has tremendously reduced in the past year. Without proper funding, philanthropic organisations are struggling and have already started to prepare for the worst, which is to shut down if things don’t get better in the near future. While basic needs are of utmost importance when it comes to children, there are other aspects that need to be taken into consideration too; their chances of getting proper identification, education and help sorted, especially when it comes to victims of abuse.
What Are The Stats Like?
Believe it or not: according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (popularly known as UNICEF), children make up one-third of the total global population and half of that number is struggling to survive on less than US$1.90 (about RM8) a day. Likewise, children in Malaysia are no exception. According to a statement by OrphanCare, a local NGO that helps kids from various backgrounds, an estimated 64,000 children in Malaysia are seeking help from childcare institutions as well as registered and unregistered government and private orphanages throughout the country. As if this figure isn’t alarming enough, what’s worse is that it’s just an estimation before the pandemic took place. Looking at the reports by various hospitals seeking donations for abandoned babies, we’re certain that the figure has grown higher in the past one and a half years.
Food Assistance & Essential Needs Come First
As the lockdown continues, food distribution is currently the primary focus for children in shelter homes. In addition to the alarming number of kids who need help, many parents have lost their jobs as well, which makes it even harder for them to afford basic essentials for their families. Fun fact: In a report issued by UNICEF in 2018, one in 10 kids (12%) in Malaysia eats less than three times a day, which takes a toll on the kids’ overall growth and development.
Child Protection Is A Must
It’s an undeniable fact that kids are the most vulnerable group of people in society as they can’t really defend themselves. Domestic violence and child abuse are two issues that are often disregarded and least mentioned, especially when the children are poor. Furthermore, very little income often leads to neglection.
In Malaysia, a total of 3,875 incidences of child abuse were reported between January and September 2020, according to an article published by FreeMalaysiaToday in December 2020. Aside from relying on the Social Welfare Department for assistance, a number of NGOs have stepped forward to provide protective services for these kids. For instance, the children residing at The Lighthouse Kuala Lumpur come from homes where their parents are too poor to care for them, addicted to drugs and alcohol, or have abused them. They’re not only rescue kids who suffer from acute malnutrition but also childhood trauma, and they lack emotional support and proper medical care too. However, with the increasing number of children needing protection each year, especially during the lockdown, the irregular and spontaneous assistance is insufficient to assure the long-term viability of these services.
Education Is The Key To Freedom
During the MCO, schools were shut and kids were forced to adapt to online schooling, which was a new experience for many students and families. Until today, there are many children in rural areas who don’t own smartphones, laptops, tablets or even have internet access. Not to mention, internet coverage in these places are usually very poor. Digital limitations aren’t only a problem affecting those who live in rural areas, but they also affect the urban poor in big cities like Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru. To lend a helping hand, Shepherd’s Centre Foundation in Kuala Lumpur stepped in to make things a little better by providing gadgets to children in need. However, like all other NGOs, they’ve got their constraints too and are in dire need for laptops and desktop computers to help the kids adapt to their online classes better.
What Can You Do To Support Those In Need?
Scoop Cares is a CSR initiative by JWW Consultancy & Technology Sdn Bhd where you’d be able to find all the details that you need about various NGOs that need your help during these unprecedented times. Be it in cash or in kind, the NGOs would appreciate your contributions in order for them to continue doing what they do best. For more information and to find out how you can donate, click here.