It’s in the spirit of giving and spiritual reflection that Muslims around the world observe the month of Ramadan. Malaysia is a country with a population of 32.7 million where more than 61% of them are Muslim.
In the past year, the pandemic has ravaged the economy and put many at financial risk. In 2019, the nation reported more than 400,000 households that earned less than RM2,208. When the pandemic hit and many were put out of jobs and a further 800,000 households barely made enough to put food on the table, earning less than RM3,000 a month.
A year into the pandemic, we see businesses getting back on track, but the economic impact of the pandemic will take some time to recover. Khazanah Institute alluded to the grim reality that if the situation does not improve, Malaysia would see 1.2 million of its population living in poverty.
The signs of poverty cannot be more evident when we see homeless people walking the streets in search of shelter or homeless families huddled together on five footways. Just in April 2020 alone, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) rescued about 800 homeless people and gave them food and temporary shelter. The number of homeless are still unaccounted for, especially in other Malaysian cities – but in this case, we don’t need numbers to tell us that many Malaysians are still struggling to survive on a day-to-day basis.
On this special month of Ramadan, generosity is amplified, gratitude runs over and hospitality is exemplified. A lesser-known fact about Ramadan is that Muslims fast from sunrise to sundown to gain empathy for the underprivileged.
The idea that helping others and charity (sadaqah) are central aspects of faith and practice for Muslims. This is done through the paying of zakat (money or assets) and other actionable ways of service to others.
It is believed that if done and managed well, zakat can be a powerful vehicle to bring about social justice and equality. The main purpose of zakat is to support the less fortunate and marginalised in society such as the poor, needy, forsaken, the wayfarer and those who are sidelined.
For our Muslim friends celebrating this holy month of Ramadan, here are 10 amazing initiatives and organisations you can give to and make a tangible and lasting positive impact.
It’s a brand new line of business under Air Asia aims to support Muslim communities around the world by providing unparalled access to faith-based practices. This includes religious obligations such as, Zakat, Umrah, Qurban and Shariah-compliant lifestyle choices. You can donate to Ikhlas Fund that aims to help vulnerable families, refugees, front-liners, soup kitchens, orphanages, and students. To date they have helped over 16,000 families and given more than 54,000 meals. You can choose to give to and support a local mosque or active campaigns around your area. Find out more on their website.
#2: ISLAMIC RELIEF MALAYSIA
As part of their annual fundraiser, Rezeki Ramadan is a seasonal campaign set up to help more than 60,000 beneficiaries through 12,000 food packs. Islamic Relief Malaysia hopes to raise RM 2.4 million for this mission. You can donate through their website from as little as RM5 with no ceiling to your giving. They also have ongoing campaigns such as Covid-19 Appeal, My Sedekah and Cheer To School.
#3: ONE MILLION MEALS
Aims to feed over thousands of families consistently over the year. With the monies raised, every month, needy families will receive a food box worth RM150 filled with nutritious food items enough to feed a family of four for the whole month. The campaign will run from 6 April to 13 May, organised by Charity Right.
#4: RAMADAN RELIEF 2021
Organised by Mercy Malaysia, this fund is to help asnaf (party that is eligible to receive Zakat aid collected from Muslims) and marginalised communities in Malaysia in the month of Ramadan. With support from Lembaga Zakat Negeri Kedah (LZNK) and Majlis Agama Islam Perlis (MAIPs), Mercy Malaysia aims to ensure sufficient food supplies and hygiene kits for these communities during the entire month of Ramadan. Donate here.
#5: ARBA FOUNDATION
The foundation set up the Infaq Ramadan Project to help low income families severely affected by Covid-19 across Malaysia, especially single mothers, persons with disabilities and those suffering from chronic illnesses. Give generously here and keep abreast with their efforts on Instagram.
This Ramadan project aims to support 200 poor families in the country through food baskets worth RM150 during the month of Ramadan. The target set is RM33,000 and they are specifically looking to help single mothers, the elderly and orphans affected by the pandemic. More info and to donate here.
#7: IFTAR RAMADAN 2021
Organised by the Rizq-ar-Rahman Charitable Labuan Foundation, they help iftar (breaking the fast) in the form of cooked meals and groceries for those in need. With just RM10, you can be part of a movement to feed the hungry with warm meals. The foundation is dedicated to support those struggling to support themselves and deprived of basic necessities. They aim to provide both immediate relief and long-term solutions giving the gift of hope to those who need it most. Details of giving can be found here.
#8: CHARITY FOR BREAKING FAST CAMPAIGN via JomDonate
Food will be bought for those in need, particularly orphans, single mothers and the homeless. The RM100,000 target set will be utilised to purchase food and pay operators who are providing the food. Food packs will be distributed at mosques or suraus in the Selangor area. Mosque or volunteer authorities will distribute the food to individuals or families who attend the surau mosque to break fast. Donations are welcomed here.
#9: INFAQ CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS via JomDonate
With a target of RM30,000, JomDonate aims to raise monies that will be channelled to the poor and needy living around Dun Kemasik, Terengganu. The monies will be used to purchase food and kitchen essentials for 1,000 people, food packs for 500 families and other basic necessities. To give, visit this page.
A social impact advisory firm is running a campaign to raise RM25,000 for food baskets that will benefit 150 people from 3 communities in Malaysia – namely the B40, refugees from Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia and Indonesian migrants. Make your donations here.
Explore Our Sources:
- Department of Statistics Malaysia. (2020). Current Population Estimates, Malaysia, 2020. Link.
- Index Mundi. (2020). Malaysian Demographics Profile. Link.
- A. M. M. Firouz & H. A. Hamid. (2021). Lebih sejuta isi rumah miskin jika tiada bantuan sepanjang PKP 2.0. Khazanah Research Institute. Link.
- Ravindran S. (2020). Homeless folk in KL get shelter, food and counseling during MCO. The Star. Link.
- Farah Aida Nazri, et al. (2012). Zakat and Poverty Alleviation: Roles of Zakat Institutions in Malaysia. International Journal of Arts and Commerce. Link.