Tan Sri Faizah Mohd Tahir
Assalamualaikum w.b.t. and Salam Sejahtera to all,
At Sejahtera, we believe that poverty is not confined to low income; poverty eradication in the Malaysian context should resolve issues of continuous cycles of unfulfilled basic food needs; lack of access to basic services such as electricity, water, medical care and education; poor housing; and the inability, or perceived inability, to rise above and beyond poverty. In short, poverty eradication should result in every Malaysian to be able to live equipped with all the basic requirements, amenities and necessity, whilst earning a sustainable and sufficient income for their families, and at the same time, able to strive to continuously improve their standard of living. Thus, Sejahtera has taken a holistic and community-driven approach towards creating a sustainable impact which is premised on four building blocks:
• Supporting Basic Food Needs
• Providing Basic Community Services
• Building / Rehabilitating Homes
• Supporting Sustainable Livelihoods
From our inception in 2009, Sejahtera has implemented projects based on these four building blocks which impacted families in six (6) states, namely Kedah, Kelantan, Pahang, Sabah, Sarawak and the latest in Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur. Whilst we strive to address poverty in rural areas, another challenge, no less impactful and critical to the nation requires our immediate attention and action. Urban poverty is definitely a global issue with the population growth in major towns and cities as well as rural-to-urban migration compounding problems of increasing cost-of-living and limited resources. According to the 11th Malaysia Plan, it is estimated that 63.1% of the of 2.7 million total Bottom 40% (B40) households live within the urban setting. This figure is a rising number and increasing at an alarming rate, particularly if left unchecked. Sejahtera seeks to propose and help coordinate sustainable solutions to address this problem before the consequences become unmanageable and detrimental to the country. In our 5-year Strategic Plan (2014 – 2018), Sejahtera has included a strategic initiative on “Urban poverty alleviation”, targeting to reach out to 2,800 urban poor families by 2018. In 2015, a pilot project has been taking place, targeting beneficiaries from Project Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) Pantai Ria in Brickfields, and subsequently other PPR communities in Kuala Lumpur.
Sejahtera would like to express our deepest appreciation and gratitude to our stakeholders including our participants/beneficiaries, without whom our intentions would not have materialized into successful efforts. To our past and current donors, your contribution has enabled us to drive our efforts into reality and we thank you. A special thank you as well to all our beneficiary families, who have allowed and welcomed us and accepted our assistance, inspired us with their determination and perseverance despite all obstacles, and enriched our organization in more ways than we can express. Last but not least, kudos to our resolute Sejahtera team for their tireless efforts and the Board of Trustees for their unwavering support in carrying out Sejahtera’s projects and programmes.
Poverty eradication is not just a noble effort; it is an effort required of every one of us in order to ensure that every Malaysian can lead fair and equitable lives. Sejahtera’s role in the alleviation of poverty in Malaysia is only the tip of the iceberg in the ways that we can contribute to strive towards reduction in incidences of poverty. Values such as ‘care for thy neighbour’ and ‘pay it forward’ are tenets that we need to instill, share and apply especially in the younger generation to create a domino effect of spreading the benefits of these efforts to every nook and cranny of our beloved country. When everyone pitches in, the seemingly impossible may just become a reality.