Covid-19 took all of us by surprise. 

Some are hit harder than the others. 

When the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented, we wanted to find out how our community was doing and did a survey amongst 100 entrepreneurs who lived in PPR areas. The survey showed that 77% of them felt mentally stressed out. We realise that this was heavily affected by the fear of getting the virus (28%), financial needs as many of them couldn’t work or run their businesses (27%), and over their children’s learning (15%).

With this, we knew that it was essential for us to address their needs rather than just doing things Business-As-Usual (BAU). We knew we had to first address their need for groceries and how they can cope with their current situation. Moreover, we knew that we couldn’t fish for them long term, empowering them to sustain themselves during this period is also essential.

We quickly started a Program Keusahawanan (PK) Alumni Facebook Group to empower our B40 entrepreneur community and a B40 women’s support WhatsApp group chat to provide this community with emotional well being modules. For each committed participation, we will then provide them grocery care packs to help them with food supplies through this difficult period. Throughout these 3 months, with the help of various partners like CIMB Islamic, CIMB Foundation, Canon, Takaful Malaysia and Impact Malaysia, we were able to deliver 639 care packs to more than 2,530 B40 family members.

To execute our programs, social media platforms were our go-to options as they were easily accessible for our community. For our entrepreneurs, we ran weekly classes that taught them to adapt to online selling and leveraging on existing delivery services. Following this, we too shared with them how they could run a WhatsApp business while giving a few tips on digital marketing and basic poster designing. Besides that, during the Ramadan month, we kickstarted the Kedai Kita Lah initiative to consolidate all meaningful businesses on one platform to allow people to support these small businesses.

As for our women support group, our team psychologist, Nelavathi Marimuthu, she planned out weekly emotional well being modules to help the women from different aspects such as emotional management, parenting strategy, developing self confidence and other related topics. For every session, almost 100% of the participants mentioned that they have found it beneficial and could practice what they learned in their daily lives to better cope with the current situation. Similarly, participants would receive care packs for participating as an encouragement for their fighting spirit to adapt to the new changes.

We have seen how our communities started to adapt and change. Our programs work and it is a sustainable way of empowering them to be sustainable. It’s been almost three months and our next step is to teach our communities to adapt to the new normal, to focus on Life after Covid-19 and that it’s possible to thrive even when things are difficult.

We are always looking for interested companies to partner us to run sustainable charitable programs. For partnership opportunities, do reach out to may.wong@taylors.edu.my.