Kuala Lumpur, 15 October – In the ongoing battle against COVID-19, Hong Leong Islamic Bank (“HLISB” or the “Bank”) under their “HLISB Turun Padang” initiative reached out to three Orang Asli villages in Perak, Pahang, and Negeri Sembilan to ensure that Orang Asli communities are equally included and have access to pandemic prevention conversations and resources. Through the ‘Turun Padang’ initiative, HLISB distributed ‘New Normal Starter Packs’ as well as educational resources on COVID-19 prevention which will positively impact over 1000 indigenous peoples.
The ‘New Normal Starter Packs’ aimed at helping Orang Asli communities in the Kampung Orang Asli Bah Sawa in Perak, Bukit Serok in Pahang and, Sungai Sempo in Negeri Sembilan to better equip and protect themselves. For this, HLISB partnered with The Asli Co., a social enterprise focusing on providing sustainable income for Orang Asli mothers and SURI, a denim upcycling social enterprise that works with single and underprivileged mothers with employment opportunities, as a means to also uplift Orang Asli and vulnerable communities through economic empowerment.
The Asli Co. provided hand sanitisers as well as reusable face masks, which were produced alongside SURI.
Jasani Abdullah, CEO of HLISB said, “We have a responsibility to be inclusive in our approach when extending a helping hand to vulnerable communities and make sure they have access to COVID-19 prevention essentials and the necessary knowledge to do so as part of our collective effort to curb the spread of virus, which is especially relevant now with the recent rise in cases. Our Orang Asli communities possess a wealth of untapped knowledge that we risk losing should there be an uncontrollable outbreak of the virus within the community. Beyond just preventative measures, we are helping them preserve their way of life to be able to continue handing down their wisdom to future generations.”
The ‘Turun Padang’ initiative also saw HLISB provide educational material and COVID-19 prevention best practices to the elders of the Orang Asli villages to raise greater awareness of the virus among the indigenous community to protect themselves and their way of life. This saw representatives from HLISB sharing good hygiene practices, proper use and care of reusable face masks and, proper disposal methods for disposable face masks to avoid pollution in rural areas.
“With a single outreach and CSR initiative sourced from Zakat funds, we are able to create a ripple effect by not only protecting the Orang Asli communities and their way of life, but also empowering the vulnerable communities under The Asli Co. and SURI with economic opportunities to help them survive these tough times. This is how we can #KitaJagaKita to build and support a vibrant community, while contributing to economic and public health recovery,” continued Jasani.
Not leaving out the indigenous children in the community, the team at HLISB contributed toys, plasticine, notebooks, and snacks to the Tadika Kemas’ located there to uplift their spirits and bring a little joy into their lives amid this public health crisis.
With the rising number of COVID-19 cases, it remains the collective responsibility of us all to continue with all the necessary SOPs and to be mindful about protecting the most vulnerable in society.