ALLEVIATING POVERTY, IMPROVING LIVES
Incidence of poverty among Malaysian families has dropped dramatically in the last 40 years. However, pockets of communities earning below poverty line income continue to exist both in rural and urban areas. Yayasan Sejahtera (YS) was established in August 2009 to address the issue of hardcore poverty in Malaysia. It aims to ensure that vulnerable communities gain access to a basic standard of living through the creation of sustainable living environments. YS seeks to support the Government’s initiatives in this space by serving as a platform for Corporate Malaysia to play its part through CR initiatives that uplift poor communities. The Foundation’s approach to alleviating poverty covers the following five modules:
- Sustainable Livelihood: To stimulate sustainable economic activity for target communities to improve the quality of their lives;
- Education and Mentoring: To encourage academic pursuits and excellence among school going children and reduce unemployment among youths;
- Health: To ensure target communities have access to medical facilities and/or supplies and have proper nutritional intake;
- Habitation and Infrastructure: To ensure basic housing needs of target communities are met with adequate supporting physical infrastructure; and
- Food and Water: To ensure sustainable sources of food and water for target communities.
In 2013, Khazanah supported four programmes implemented by YS. These were the Small Grants initiative in Kelantan; Sustainable Livelihood and Teaching for Change in Kampung Song Song, Sabah; and Water Solution programme in Rumah Juing, Pulau Bruit.
- Small Grants Initiative at Bachok and Pasir Putih, Kelantan
This initiative, undertaken in partnership with University Malaysia Kelantan, aimed to increase the income of 55 participating families by providing them material and know-how on economic activities such as tailoring, selling vegetables, and small-scale business. The participants were reported to have earned a gross income of RM216,850 in 2013.
- Sustainable Livelihood and Teaching for Change at Kampung Song Song, Sabah
In March 2013, YS launched the sustainable livelihood programme at Kampung Song Song, where 33 families signed up to plant ginger and brinjal. By the year’s end, they had planted ginger on 17.4 acres, and realised RM12,307 from the sale of brinjals. Teaching for Change, carried out with the help of University Malaysia Sabah volunteers, provided additional tuition to students of SK Suang Punggor, and contributed to the school’s ranking improving from Band 4 to Band 3 in 2013.
- Water Solution at Rumah Juing, Pulau Bruit, Sarawak
In June 2013, YS successfully installed a rainwater harvesting system at Rumah Juing, benefiting 48 families.
YS aims to reach more than 14,000 beneficiaries over the next five years. 20% of its programmes will address urban poverty, involving an estimated 2,800 beneficiaries. YS will continue its programmes in Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak as these three states have the highest incidence of poverty. YS will also replicate its programmes in other states where hotspots of hardcore poverty exist. For urban poverty programmes, YS will begin with a variety of pilot programmes in Klang Valley and Iskandar Malaysia in 2014 before venturing forth to other urban capitals. YS will also seek to strengthen its network of partners as it implements its programmes to meet the targets embedded in its Strategic Plan 2014-2018.