Updated: Jun 1, 2020
Since the spike in COVID-19 cases and the announcement of the Movement Control Order in Malaysia, medical staffs across the country have been working tirelessly and many industries in the country were put to a halt. No doubt, the global pandemic has put a strain on the lives of many.
Sara Amelia binti Muhamad Bernard, a semester 5 student from Taylor’s Law School, has been doing her part in contributing to the battle against the pandemic by organising fundraisers for medical personnel and low-income families in Teluk Intan.
When asked about what inspired her to take the initiative, Sara shared that she was brought to tears after reading one of her friend’s Facebook posts. Her friend is a nurse working at the Teluk Intan Hospital, which like many others in Malaysia, was not sufficiently equipped with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face masks during the huge spike of cases in March. After reading about the fears, anxieties and physical exhaustion her friend was experiencing as a frontliner, Sara was inspired to act.
She explained that frontliners are not limited to those working in the infectious disease wards. Every employee is putting their life on the line, from doctors and nurses, to cleaners and security guards. Furthermore, the Teluk Intan Hospital had the highest medical personnel infection rate in Malaysia.
Determined to contribute in ways that she can, Sara found out from her friend that it was difficult for healthcare personnel to get food while working. She then got in touch with Ibu, a part-time caterer, who was able to cater meals for RM5-7 each. With her own funds, she was able to sponsor 60 lunch boxes over a two-day period.
Hoping to raise awareness on the difficulties faced by our frontliners, she started sharing her initiative on Instagram and soon enough, she received many messages from kind souls around the world wanting to take part in her donation drive.
“In just a few days, Ibu and I had collected enough funds to cook 30 meals daily for a period of two weeks. We couldn’t believe the rate at which contributions kept pouring in,” she said.
Her initiative was noticed by the Taylor’s Law Society, who has also contributed 30 lunch packs for the frontliners on 8 April 2020.
“On that day, Ibu cooked bakso! I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the Law
Society for helping our frontliners battle this pandemic. Thank you, TLS!”
Talking about how the medical staff’s reacted upon receiving food from the public, Sara shared that “they were grateful and happy to know that there are people in the community who appreciated their sacrifice for the greater good of the world”.
Sara’s initiative did not stop there as Ibu and she took on the idea to help the less fortunate.
“We came up with a list of groceries which included rice, flour, sugar, coffee, crackers, eggs and soy sauce,” she added.
With the power of social media once again, Sara managed to collect an additional RM350 for the less fortunate. Groceries were bought and distributed to seven needy families in Teluk Intan.
“It took me less than 10 minutes to come up with the Instagram post, but the impact of the generosity of donors will be felt for years to come by needy families desperate for assistance to make it through the crisis.”
Even though Sara’s involvement was confined to her home in Kuala Lumpur, she played an important role in connecting people who were willing to contribute to those who would benefit most from these contributions.
While her initiative has made an impact on those in need, Sara maintained humbly that “the real hero was Ibu”.
“She not only had to cook the meals but also come up with different recipe ideas, as well as delivering these to the hospital. She is a true hero,” she said when talking about her fellow comrade.
For anyone who wants to help but is unsure where to start, Sara advised to reach out directly to frontliners to see if there is anything one can do to ease their burden or uplift their spirits. Purchasing groceries and donate them to less privileged communities is also a great way to help out. There are various charities such as Tabung COVID-19: Bantu Jiran Kita, The Hope Branch (COVID-19 Support Fundraising) and The Lost Food Project which accepts donations.
“It’s also important in these difficult times to support our local businesses. For example, since bazaars have been ordered to close this Ramadhan, we should support local vendors by continuing to purchase their goods via online platforms,” she concluded.