PETALING JAYA, April 8 — What began as a personal quest to help her neighbours has morphed into a full-fledged charity operation for Dr Nur Hidayah Abu Bakar.
Dr Hidayah, who works as a dentist at a government clinic, has delivered essential goods to more than 350 families in need since the first phase of the movement control order (MCO) kicked in on March 18.
She and fellow resident Divakar Sivasubramaniam spearheaded the Gombak division of Caremongering Malaysia, a movement that calls upon Malaysians to check up on their neighbours and do grocery runs for them if they are unable to leave the house.
The movement is not affiliated with any non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and is led by everyday Good Samaritans who wish to help others in their own capacity.
Dr Hidayah told Malay Mail that she initially asked on social media if anyone knew of struggling families that she could assist after Malaysia went into shutdown mode last month.
Not long after, her friends began chipping in to her initiative and the requests for aid came rushing in.
She and Divakar now manage between seven and 10 runners to deliver essentials to housebound families living in Gombak, Sentul, Selayang, Wangsa Maju, and Setapak.
Working in the medical field taught Dr Hidayah about the struggles some people have to face as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which gave her the motivation to extend a helping hand to the needy.
“I knew that this MCO would affect quite a lot of people because they have to stay in and there are many who rely on daily wages.
“I decided to reach out to those closest to me, those who don’t have any internet access and are completely homebound and can’t get any form of support.
“That’s what triggered me to do this. It started as a neighbourly initiative but it expanded and it became quite a big project,” she said.
Dr Hidayah and her Gombak volunteers rely on their own manpower and vehicles to deliver the items, which range from food boxes, groceries, and medical supplies depending on the requests of the individuals.
The Caremongering Malaysia Facebook group now has more than 7,700 members with dedicated WhatsApp chat groups for several areas in Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang, and Sabah so far.
If you’d like to lend a hand, check out Caremongering Malaysia’s Facebook page for more information on how to help.