Have you heard about the White Flag campaign in Malaysia?
Photo credit: FMT
It is a campaign that requires you to hang out your white flag, shirt, cloth, or anything in white and wave it out until someone noticed you so that help can come to you.
Photo credit : The Straits Times
It started in the mid of 2021when the third MCO were enforced in Malaysia that jeopardize thousands of livelihood in Malaysia. It was a sad and devastating time. Businesses were also affected and the unemployment rate skyrocketed as well. Those who rely on daily wages were affected the most and they had to rely on handouts given by either the government or NGOs to assist them with their daily needs.
During this time, the White Flag campaign started and began to pick up its pace, and slowly it became viral. Hundreds of business owners and companies all over Malaysia came out to help to mitigate the crisis Malaysia is in and also to ease the burden of the B40 families in their community.
Hundreds of food banks were set up all over Malaysia. Anyone who needs help is able to visit the Kita Jaga Kita website to find the nearest food bank. The food banks could be found in areas such as petrol stations, coffee shops, restaurants, R&R, mini markets, hotels, community centers etc.
It was indeed a good campaign that some who were shy to ask for help on social media or make a call are able to just signal out the White Flag so that help can come to them ASAP.
photo credit : CNA
However, the trend only lasted up to 3 months at least. So what happens to it now?
They are still people out there that need help but what happens to businesses who decided to take part in this movement? Have they stopped their food bank initiative and also the pay it forward concept? Did most of them took advantage of the White Flag movement to use it as a publicity opportunity to scale their business and increase their customer database?
One thing that hasn't changed even after or before the White Flag movement is that NGOs who have existed way long before this campaign has helped the people from year to year, day to day, week to week, and month to month without fail. These NGOs who look after the welfare of the B40 communities, orphanages, old folks home, special needs kids home, the refugee community, and others as well have always been their main priority. They have never stopped even for a day not to help the vulnerable groups even before or during Ncovid-19 hits. They know what its like to run an NGO and they know what it is like to provide a long-term solution because to solve a social issue, a long-term solution is needed. I am sure, there hasn't been any short-term solution that has been proven worthy to solve a social issue. Hence, that is why it is important for us to come up with sustainable solutions and always think long-term if we are sincere and genuine in helping people with no other motive .
Moreover, I am saddened to see that so many food banks had to close down, and also businesses who once helped those B40 families, might not be able to support them now because they see no benefits to it. There are still hungry people out there and what happens to the white flag movement now? Who is going to be there to feed those that have been helped before by private organizations or closed groups that the public is not aware of? Are the NGOs going to be responsible for the mess that was created by others and come in to ensure a proper setup is in place to provide financial help and also food basket to the B40 families?
Furthermore, have we ever asked ourselves if the private companies or groups who did fundraising in the past to raise money to buy groceries for those B40 families who were affected by the 3rd MCO, were genuine? Did they show how much money was spent and were there any personal updates from them that your donation was utilized to help those that have been affected by the pandemic?
Nevertheless, I strongly urged anyone out there who wants to do philanthropy work or charity to always donate and channel their funds to established NGOs who have long years of track record. They have been established for so long and they have helped so many people over the years and their social work has been proven sustainable. Hence, your monetary support or your volunteering time can do so much for them to keep going and also create a bigger impact to help more people.
If you are interested in NGOs that provide food baskets for families, you can pick any 1 of it below and make your support.
1) House of Hope
2) Kechara Soup Kitchen
3) Kembara Soup Kitchen
4) Mutiara Food Bank
6) Food Aid Foundation
7) The Assembly Soup Kitchen
8) Yayasan Food Bank
9) The Lost Food Project
10) Green Hero
Together with you, let's support NGOs that have been helping the country in solving a social issue rather than business or private groups that do it one-off. A one-off activity won't make a difference in society but a continuous effort that has been carried out by a group of people will make a difference. So , think before you donate.