The World Refugee Day is an international day established by the United Nations to acknowledge the many refugees and asylum seekers around the world. Annually, on June 20th refugees are remembered for their tenacity, courage and resilience for escaping their home country due to war, conflict or unrest – circumstances not within their control. This day also serves as an occasion to bring awareness, build empathy and create an understanding towards the plight of refugees as well as to recognize their never-ending fighting spirit in seeking for a better life.
Throughout this challenging time, we have…seen a connectedness that transcends borders. Ordinary people have stepped up to help. Host communities…have continued to demonstrate a remarkable welcome. – Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
“Together we heal, learn and shine” is the theme for 2021 chosen by UNHCR to emphasise the need for better access to medical healthcare, quality education for refugee children and the creation of a safe, protective environment for these communities.
In conjunction with World Refugee Day, here are some extraordinary organizations in Malaysia that are lending a hand to refugees within the country as well as the ways an individual could support their cause.
#1: Asylum Access Malaysia (Nationwide)
Asylum Access Malaysia provides direct legal counsel for refugees and people seeking asylum, ‘Know-Your-Options’ trainings, and engagement with UNHCR and other stakeholders in Malaysia’s refugee rights movement. They assist refugees with the paper work to gain refugee status and more importantly work alongside human rights groups to restore policy advocacy for these groups in Malaysia.
#2 – Somali Women Association (Klang Valley)
They are an organization established to support and promote independence, women leadership, entrepreneurship spirit and strong community, cultural and family values amongst the Somali refugee women in Malaysia. They currently have a language centre and child care centre to help their beneficiaries.
#3 – Doctors On Ground
Doctors on Ground (DnG) works towards creating sustainability of women’s health among the refugee population. Part of their initiatives focuses on sexual reproductive health and menstrual hygiene.
#4 – Hilla Community Centre (Klang Valley)
Hilla Community Centre was established by a small group of Korean expatriates and Malaysians residing in Ampang, Selangor. They initially started off by conducting informal classes teaching basic English to Afghan children and the teachers served on a voluntary basis. As they began to receive more and more demands to attend their classes, Hilla began accommodating both children and adults as their classes were split between day and night. As of 2010, they have 5 classes with 19 volunteer teachers and 65 students in their day classes only. Apart from English classes, the community centre also offers classes for Bahasa Malaysia, music, arts and science, among others.
Adult refugees are assisted in ways such as job training, counselling and even job seeking. This would then empower the adults to find a source of income and be financially independent. The centre is currently open to donations, be it monetary or in-kind as well as volunteer teachers to run these classes.
#5: Refuge for The Refugees (Klang Valley)
Refuge for the Refugees (RFTR) started off as an initiative to help Chin Children’s Education Centre remain open as their UNHCR funding was coming to an end. RFTR strives to raise awareness and improve the livelihood of refugees in Malaysia, working closely with refugee communities, especially children in need of education. This organization also plays a role in connecting volunteers, sponsors and partners to the education centre.
Besides, RFTR organises a number of fundraisers to help provide food aid and medical treatment to refugee families in need, especially during this season of COVID-19. RFTR is also looking to grow their army of volunteers and expand their team to include interns. Get on the team and use your skills in social media and business development to help them reach and empower more refugees.
Check out their Facebook page here to learn more about ongoing fundraising events or drop them a message to see if there are any other opportunities to help out in their cause.
#6: Medecins Sans Frontieres – MSF (Penang)
MSF or Doctors Without Borders is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that provides emergency aid to communities affected by conflicts, epidemics and disasters. They operate all around the world including in Malaysia. They have been providing healthcare, mental health education as well as counseling and support to refugee and migrant communities in Penang through their mobile and fixed clinics.
Partnering up with MERCY and SUKA Society, they have also been working on upgrading the water and sanitation systems at immigration detention centres in Juru and Belantik. Additionally, they serve as advocates in the drafting of protection measures for migrants seeking medical care at government health care centres and the development of sustainable health insurance schemes for these communities. MSF is currently open to receiving donations to help support their work in Malaysia and around the world.
Know of a doctor friend who is interested in working with MSF? Click on the link here
#7: Persatuan Jaringan Islam Global Masa Depan – JREC (Nationwide)
Persatuan Jaringan Islam Global Masa Depan is a recognized UNHCR partner working on implementing several projects for the refugees in Malaysia. They not only provide primary and secondary education to refugee children but also create a safe space for refugees to have access to basic services and protection services.
Their education framework is based on the Malaysian national syllabus and classes are held at the Rohingya Education Centres (RECs). Since their inception in 2010, they have managed to accommodate 860 students in 5 schools around Malaysia. They require volunteers to operate and those interested can choose between admin support, teaching and design. Donations are also welcomed.
For more information on how else to contribute, reach out to them at +60361877020 or firstname.lastname@example.org
#8: International Catholic Migration Commission – ICMC (Nationwide)
Since 2010, the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) has been empowering refugees in Malaysia and has been working with refugee communities in Malaysia to prevent gender-based violence. They do so by establishing and running hotlines for survivors as well as provide emergency access to shelter, counselling and monetary aid. ICMC also offers education and vocational training to affected communities, empowering these refugees to earn a living and become financially sufficient.
For the ICMC to continue supporting the refugee and migrant communities, especially during this time of pandemic, they require assistance in the form of donations. The money will be used to educate staff and beneficiaries, increase communications as well as the gathering and distribution of resources to vulnerable communities.
For more information on other ways to support them, click on the link here.
#9: Health Equity Initiatives – HEI (Klang Valley)
Health Equity Initiatives (HEI) carries out community-based health interventions, professional mental health services, research and evidence-based advocacy. They work closely with refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia, partnering with a number of refugee organizations from Myanmar like the Alliance of Chin Refugees.
Its community centre houses a number of training sessions and workshops for the refugee community. Mental health services are also offered here at the community centre as well as a “Take What You Need Corner” for refugees to obtain basic needs. HEI is open to receiving donations in the form of food, clothes and other material support which are channeled to vulnerable members of the refugee community.
To learn more on how to donate, reach out to them at email@example.com or call them at +603 2272 4957.
#10: Refugee Network Centre – RNC (Klang Valley)
The Refugee Network Centre (RNC) connects refugees to Malaysian entrepreneurs so that they can mentor refugees to start their own business or initiatives. The RNC is operated by refugees from various backgrounds and they operate in the Kuala Lumpur area. They occasionally hold skills and language workshops for refugees as well as vocational training too. Right now, most of their classes are available online due to the ongoing pandemic.
Reach out to them at +6019-785 7987 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out ways to contribute to their cause and support their activities.
#11: Rizq ar-Rahman Charitable Labuan Foundation (Klang Valley)
Rizq ar-Rahman provides medical aid, education and food aid to refugees in Malaysia. The Al-Ansaar Learning Centre is among their initiatives to provide refugee children with crucial education classes and a safe environment in which they would feel valued and cared for. RAR conducts medical drives in refugee settlement areas so that these people can have access to basic healthcare and medical needs as many of them cannot afford medical attention.
Occasionally, RAR would also hold grocery drives for the refugees, distributing food to the needy refugee families within KL. These families were identified prior by their field agents and the groceries were selected according to their requirements. The organization is currently open to accepting donations and volunteers to help drive their efforts.
#12: Darul Hedayah Rohingya Academy (Perak)
Darul Hedayah is a learning center and a boarding school established for Rohingya children. Established in 2015, they are located in Ipoh, Perak and are affiliated with the UNHCR. They provide education and shelter for these children as some of them are orphaned. As this is a community-based learning centre, they require assistance in running the place and are in need of school equipment, stationery as well as volunteer teachers.
For more information on how to donate to Darul Hedayah, call +60107148706 or email them at email@example.com
#13: Kneading Peace by Same Skies (Melaka)
Managed by Same Skies, a non-profit organization, Kneading Peace is a creative start-up bakery with a social purpose. Here, refugees are trained in baking and cooking, producing mini-cakes, patisserie, panini and bread rolls. They are then sold at the training cafe here in Malacca. Alternatively, patrons can purchase their pastries online and can choose between having them delivered or collected.
Pay them a visit at their online store here or if you know anyone who’d be interested in their six-months training programme, click here. If you’d like to donate to Same Skies instead, click on the link here.
Find data, maps and how you can help in our report – Providing Hope For The Refugees in Klang Valley.