In Malaysia, the holy month of Ramadan is known for its spirit of giving and sharing. Everyone from ordinary folks to employees and managers at companies spread this spirit in the majority Muslim nation by providing less fortunate people, such as orphans and homeless citizens, meals with which to break their daily fasts.
Now, several Malaysian NGOs and individuals are shifting the focus of their Ramadan-time charity to refugees. This week, the Malaysian International Welfare and Humanitarian Organization (MyWelfare), a local NGO, opened its doors to some 500 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, who have fled religious persecution in that country and are among 151,560 refugees and asylum seekers registered in Malaysia, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
During weekends in Ramadan, MyWelfare gives away food, clothes and toys to refugees through its Ramadan Garage Giveaway program. On June 19, hundreds of Rohingya refugees, who are not housed by UNHCR but live in the Kuala Lumpur area and hold refugee cards issued by the U.N. agency, converged on the offices of MyWelfare in the K.L. suburb of Selayang to reap the blessings of the NGO’s generosity.
The idea is to help refugees meet their most basic needs during the month of fasting and the Eid ul-Fitr holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, MyWelfare community advisor Ustaz Rafik told BenarNews.
“The main objective of the organization is to facilitate all refugees, not only the Rohingya refugees. Everyone is welcome,” he said.