PETALING JAYA - Humanitarian groups in Malaysia are rallying to help raise funds and aid for Muslims in Palestine and Syria this Ramadan.
Viva Palestina Malaysia (VPM) has launched its Ramadan Food Baskets campaign to feed impoverished families in Gaza during the fasting month.
This year, the group aims to collect RM400,000 (S$129,539) from donations to help some 2,000 Palestinian families. The funds will be sent to Gaza and converted into coupons to allow families to buy essential food items.
"Each coupon can buy about US$50 (S$69) worth of food that can last a family of five about two weeks. They would normally buy cooking oil, rice, lentils, dates, tea, and sugar," said its treasurer Norma Hashim.
"We have an arrangement to allow the families to buy the goods themselves from shops in their vicinity. We cover about five areas in Gaza, each with a mini market where they can go with their coupons.
"But of course, non-essential items like cigarettes are not allowed," said Norma, adding that VPM decided to go with the coupon system as it was not practical to prepare the food baskets here and ship them there.
Having a coupon system, said Norma, would also allow local traders to get business.
VPM has already sent some funds to support about 500 families but is seeking more individual contributions.
Another group, Malaysia Life Line For Syria (MLLFS), is holding a similar campaign to send iftar aid to 50,000 Syrians affected by the civil war in the country.
The Ramadan al-Habeeb campaign aims to raise RM1mil to help people displaced by the war in Aleppo and Idlib.
Other items such as kitchen appliances, educational assistance, medicine and baby milk would also be distributed, said its chief executive officer Syahrir Azfar Saleh.
The mission, which is organised in collaboration with Muslim Volunteers Malaysia and Tangisan Syria di Bumi Jordan, will also be sending volunteers to deliver the contributions to the affected areas in the third week of Ramadan, he added.
For online donations, go to www.billplz.com/ramadhanalhabeeb or make a deposit into the MLLFS bank account at 564810513971 (Maybank) or 14210010009882 (Bank Islam).
Those interested in donating to VPM's Ramadan Food Baskets programme can make cheques payable to Pertubuhan Viva Palestina Malaysia or bank it into its Maybank account at 564324601324.
Those who wish to obtain a receipt can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate their full name and amount donated.