KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB) in collaboration with the Lions Club Petaling Jaya and Tune Protect Insurance have distributed 300 food baskets to needy blind individuals living in areas around Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya in conjunction with World Sight Day.
MAB chief executive officer George Thomas said the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on the blind community financially as their sources of income were depleted due to the many lockdowns that occurred.
“Lions Club Petaling Jaya and Tune Protect Insurance have collaborated together with MAB to create the Sunshine Food Aid worth RM300,000 to assist the blind community with basic dry food during these trying times
“One of the blind community’s main source of income is in the reflexology line. There are nearly 2,000 blind masseurs in Malaysia who rely on daily wages as a source of income which was cut due to the 325 days of lockdowns since last year,“ he said in a speech during the event.
Meanwhile, Lions Club Petaling Jaya president Dr. Saw Aik said he hoped to continuously work together with MAB to further empower and help the blind community.
Tune Protect chief of people and culture Yap Hsu Yi said they mooted for MAB to channel the distributions to the needy blind who have been struggling since the pandemic.
Recipients Jumat Md. Aris and Edmund Chong Wai Sum said that receiving these food baskets have been a great help to them ever since their incomes have been greatly affected during the pandemic.
“I have been selling tissues around Kuala Lumpur and Selangor as well other states previously for 25 years. My income has been dwindling since the pandemic and the lockdowns and I have been relying on the assistance of MAB’s food baskets and financial aid from the government,“ he said to the media present during the event.
Meanwhile, Edmund who is a freelance masseur who works mainly in Kuala Lumpur said that these forced lockdowns have rendered him financially struggling and having to rely on government aid and food baskets provided by MAB and other organisations.
“I have no problem with coping during the pandemic due my independence of having been trained since young, however financially we have been struggling of course but we are surviving on our allowance from the Welfare Department and our landlord gives us rental discounts to further help us cope,“ he said.
George Thomas also said that he is looking into running a Community Based Rehabilitation programme with some missionaries to empower the blind community living in very rural areas in collaboration with various organisations.
“By 2022, we will be working with various agencies to pick 10 families from rural areas around Malaysia to participate in our six month programme to elevate their standard of living,“ he said. — Bernama