Meet These 5 Malaysians Who Are Empowering Communities And Making Malaysia Stronger

"I enjoy coming home with the knowledge that I actually did make a difference and an impact on the community."

Cover image via Provided to SAYS

1. Meet Priyanka Devi, a 23-year-old passionate individual who has been actively involved in community service projects for over four years, while juggling a part-time job and focusing on her studies at the same time

She first joined the Leo Club, a community service club in her college, SEGi College Subang Jaya in 2016, where she organised numerous projects and activities even as a member.

When she became President in mid-2019, her club organised a total of 112 projects for the community and served over 9,500 people by mid-2020. Some of her notable projects include providing basic needs to the homeless, raising funds for paediatric cancer, and conducting classes for underprivileged children. She shared that without her club members sharing her passion and resilience, the club wouldn't be where it stands today. 

With many things on her plate – volunteering, working, and studying, Priyanka's main driving force is her family. Speaking to SAYS, Priyanka revealed that her family was not well-to-do and received a lot of help in the past. Now that she's in a better position, Priyanka wants to inspire, help, and motivate others in the community as well. 

She shared that she recently graduated with a First Class Honours, and that she is still continuing to empower the community together with her club, by reaching out virtually to those in need.

"I enjoy coming home with the knowledge that I actually did make a difference and an impact on the community."

How you can help:
- Join or assist a non-profit organisation
- Help out an animal shelter. Many animal shelters rely on donations to operate on a daily basis
- Help out fundraising campaigns. Check out SimplyGiving that has multiple fundraising campaigns ongoing daily.

2. Dr Madhu Sudhan, also known as Teddy Bear Doctor, is a full-time doctor who uses his medical knowledge and skills to provide care and social services for those in need

Image via Humans of KL

In fact, he founded Teddy Mobile Clinic, an after-hours clinic that reaches out to the urban poor and homeless every week. 

The mobile clinic first started in 2015, with only 20 volunteers. Fast forward to 2020, the mobile clinic, together with Humans of Kuala Lumpur, now has 160 volunteers, established three mobile clinics, and also supports old folks homes, orphanages, and Orang Asli.

Dr Madhu shared that during his childhood days, he witnessed his dad helping out so many people. He was inspired and motivated to follow his father's footsteps, and eventually became a doctor, not for fame or money, but to do good. 

Being a doctor, Dr Madhu shared that he has the strength and knowledge to reach out to more people. And through Teddy Mobile Clinic and a team of aspiring volunteers, they can truly make an impact on the community.

"My patients and volunteers are like a family to me. And I am happy to do this over and over again. And I hope with my efforts, they too are able to live better lives for themselves." 

Find out more about Dr Madhu below: 

How you can help:
- Find out more about Teddy Mobile Clinic here.
- Donate blood. Blood donation is still vital during this period.
- Donate medical supplies or daily necessities to non-profit organisations.

3. 27-year-old Benjamin Ho, co-owns and manages Let's Meat, a restaurant dedicated to helping out refugees every year

Let's Meat is a restaurant in Penang that serves American breakfast and barbeque delicacies.

Every year, the restaurant would organise a large community Christmas sale where they would set up tents and spaces for local vendors to sell their goods during the holiday season. And the restaurant would collect 10% from the sales to be donated Tenaganita, a non-profit human trafficking rescue organisation for trafficked women.

With the current situation this year, however, Let's Meat has come up with an alternative to giving back to the community – by organising a shoebox campaign for the refugee children at the Spring Learning Center. The programme encourages the spirit of giving and gratitude, and Benjamin believes that this act should be something everyone ought to do simply because humans should be treated equally and with kindness.

He believes that a heart of gratitude can be a real force of change in the community. And that if we can stop and realise that what we have is more than what we deserve, then we can give without reservation or entitlement in return.

"Anyone can do good to those who profit their lives, but is kindness still good when it brings nothing in return? My vote is yes."

How you can help:
- Support Let's Meat's shoebox programme here.
- Pay it forward at roadside vendors by purchasing a few items for others to enjoy. That way, people like the nasi lemak seller, soya bean stall, and more don't have to worry about their profit for the day.
- Follow and support local businesses on social media by sharing their posts or tagging your friends.

4. Dr Yasmin Rasyid, founder of EcoKnights, is a biologist by profession and an environmentalist by passion

Image via Dutch Lady

She founded EcoKnights in 2005 with a vision – to make sustainable living accessible to everyone. 

EcoKnights believes in the importance of creativity and innovation, sustainability, respect, and passion for a positive change on a daily basis. 

The non-governmental environmental organisation does this by developing and implementing programmes and activities across five pillars – community development and education, public outreach, rehabilitation, restoration and conservation, sustainability communications, and finally, youth development and volunteerism.

Image via Dutch Lady

EcoKnights are imperative in changing the community's perception and attitude so that everyone can thrive in a more sustainable environment. 

The mother of two always reminds her children that sustainability isn't just about the environment, but it encompasses everything we consume and produce.

"My goal has always been to set the right example to people around me. This way, they can take what they have learned and elevate it in their own way to reach far greater results."

Find out more about Dr Yasmin below: 

How you can help:
- Be an EcoKnight to make sustainable changes. Find out more here.
- EcoKnights does a lot of fundraising campaigns. Find out more here
- Contact charities and NGOs in your area and ask them what they need and how you can help.
- Even small actions like recycling or reusing any unwanted items makes a difference too. 

5. Sharon Lee is the founder of Tender Hearts Café, a social enterprise incorporated for special needs youths

Sharon Lee, second from left

Image via Sharon Lee (Provided to SAYS)

The café comprises of intellectually challenged slow learners, ADHD, ADD, Autistic, Asperger, Downs Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, and other disabilities. Since its establishment in 2016, the café now has over 11 special needs youths working and helping out, and a total of 20 being part of the thriving community.

Sharon is also a mother of a special needs child herself, which was what led her to engage in various special needs projects, while managing her small business. From there on, Sharon also kickstarted Tender Hearts café, which serves Malaysian food delights and a range of cookies and pastries.

Through Tender Hearts, Sharon wants to create a platform for these youths to express themselves while also teaching them skills for future employment and independent living in a café environment.
When she was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, Sharon continued to help out and run the café with the support of many mothers, volunteers, and even the youths themselves. Today, the mother of two is a cancer survivor and is planning to open a second café in Petaling Jaya with the same mission, to help the special needs community. Throughout CMCO, Sharon has been organising virtual workshop sessions for her group of youths. 

"Together with everyone, we wanted to provide a platform for these youths to thrive and learn. In fact, some of them has found employment outside and I'm very happy for them."

How you can help:
- Tender Hearts Café is currently accepting food orders to sustain the café. You can contact Sharon at 016-216 2188 to preorder. 
- The café is also looking for volunteers. Find out more here
- Contact charities and NGOs in your area and ask them what they need and how you can help.

Dutch Lady is celebrating the strength of Malaysians with "Strong Me, Stronger Us," by nourishing their health, well-being, and ability to thrive, inspire, and be better with the nutritious goodness of milk.

When someone is strong, they can inspire and empower others to be strong as well.

Image via Dutch Lady

Many of us are grappling on how to help the community and be there for each other. However, through their "Strong Me, Stronger Us" campaign, Dutch Lady is dedicated to getting Malaysians ready to thrive every single day, no matter where you are.

#DLStrongMeStrongerUs is all about strength and unity among Malaysians. It's about showcasing some of Malaysia's strongest and most inspiring individuals. This is also why Dutch Lady has collaborated with Dr Madhu and Dr Yasmin. Through the goodness of Dutch Lady and inspiring stories, the brand wants to unite Malaysians to empower each other and flourish together during these challenging times. 

Every individual has the potential to be strong, whether physically or emotionally. Ultimately, with #DLStrongMeStrongerUs, we build the strength to support and motivate not only ourselves, but the people around us as well. 

The brand has also released a new look and improved recipe for the Dutch Lady Liquid Milk and Family Powder Milk variants

The new range comes packed with protein, vitamins, essential nutrients, and even more calcium so that Malaysians can kickstart their day stronger than ever. Additionally, the improved recipe meets the new criteria for Malaysia's Healthier Choice Logo, so that you and your family can continue to thrive and stay healthy.

Dutch Lady has always taken pride in nourishing and building strong families for over 57 years. The core of #DLStrongMeStrongerUs is the "inverted pyramid," which symbolises the chain effect of strength. When we are strong, we can help others, just like the nutritious goodness of Dutch Lady milk, which helps an individual get stronger and in turn, make the community stronger. 

Image via Dutch Lady

Ultimately, we can all play a part in helping our community. Kickstart your day strong together with Dutch Lady 'cause when there's a strong me, there's a stronger us! Find out more here.

Try the new range of Dutch Lady milk today at the nearest supermarket or convenience store!