tech

Malaysian Teens Set Up Website That Offers Mental Health Resources & Job Search Services

Their services are available to people across Malaysia.

Cover image via SAYS & Malay Mail

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In light of the prolonging COVID-19 crisis, more people are coming up with ways to help those who are struggling.

So Feed Malaysia centralises the information to help connect the underprivileged with people throughout Malaysia who can help them.

The three-month-old website was created by a group of 19-year-olds from Selangor, who had no background in IT but were driven by the desire to help people during the #BenderaPutih movement.

Previously known as Feed Selangor, this website seeks to connect those in need to those giving aid with options such as Food Aid, Mental Health Services, and Job Search Resources.

On top of that, they also help connect those willing to help with those in need via the Donations and Volunteering option.

Image via Feed Malaysia

One of Feed Malaysia's co-founders, Jun Wei Au, told SAYS that information was scattered all over the Internet when the #BenderaPutih campaign first launched, and because of that many cries for help went unanswered

Hence, the idea of Feed Malaysia was born!

To further meet the needs of Malaysians, they have collaborated with COVID Aid Response and Emergency (CARE) Lifeline to allow their information to reach those who are digitally disconnected.

Feed Malaysia also collaborated with One Step Closer (OSC) to make job-seeking resources accessible for those who are suffering due to job losses during COVID-19.

Au said their team — majority of whom are teenagers — are from Selangor as well as other states all over Malaysia

"[We initially started] centralising food bank information in Selangor and KL only. However, with inquiries from families and volunteers beyond Selangor, we decided to expand our borders to include food bank information across West Malaysia," he said.

"We are currently working with volunteers across states — Negeri Sembilan and Johor — which has accelerated the process as well."

Feed Malaysia's other co-founders are Himn Yau Leong and Karishma Menon. They also had two of their friends, Natasha Lim and Carynn Lim, on board as volunteers.

Now, the team has grown to include nine more people.

Co-founders:
Jun Wei Au, Himn Yau Leong, Karishma Menon, Max Chew, and Natasha Lim

State representatives:
Min Xuan Low, Caitlin Low, and Ze Yin Liew

Social media and data support:
Carynn Lim and Marc Chew

Translators:
Edward Yong (Bahasa Malaysia), Yun Tung Au (Chinese), and Tabetha and Mosses (Tamil)

Two of Feed Malaysia's co-founders, Jun Wei Au (left) and Karishma Menon (centre), handing over free face shields to a representative from Kuala Lumpur Hospital last year.

Image via Malay Mail

They built the website in a week using Wix in July, and by 29 August, they added new and improved features as they rebranded and recruited new members

Feed Malaysia now features a new and improved map, that was constructed by their new co-founder Max Chew, which allows users to enter their own location and radius to find food banks near them.

They also offer avenues and locations for food banks and food distribution centres, mental health hotlines such as Befrienders KL and Mercy Malaysia, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who need donations and volunteers like The Lost Food Project, Yayasan Food Bank Malaysia, Gotta Give Back, and many more.

Au shared that their collaboration with CARE Lifeline not only helps people access the Internet for Feed Malaysia's resources but also resources provided individually by CARE Lifeline such as counselling services and information on COVID-19 emergency responses.

Interestingly, Feed Malaysia stands out with their job resources page, which helps people gain long-term solutions through job seeking opportunities.

"The reason we formed a collaboration with OSC was the fact that many of the Malaysians we helped often traced the cause of their difficulties to job losses during the Movement Control Order (MCO), which highlighted the importance and benefit of a job resources page to help them upskill themselves, access retrenchment assistance, access job portals, and more," Au explained.

Acting as 'middlemen', Feed Malaysia's volunteers usually gather information from social media, WhatsApp messages, and sources throughout the Internet and link them to the relevant parties

In addition, Au said the new interface is mostly a self-serving information hub; anyone will be able to submit updates on the status or presence of new resources, with proof, to be added to their listings or modified.

Despite that, some individuals and families still contact them through WhatsApp messages and calls — an enquiry method which they refer to as 'Connection Service'.

"These Connection Services have amounted to over 200 since our initial launch. Talking to them has also provided us with further insights as to how we can better assist them," Au said.

"Don't be afraid to ask for help! Aid is here for those who need it."

Currently, Feed Malaysia is recruiting 'State Ambassador' volunteers from Sabah and Sarawak as they are looking to expand their services to East Malaysia as well

They also provide tutorials on navigating the website on their Facebook and Instagram.

For more information, check out Feed Malaysia's website

You can also contact them through WhatsApp or SMS at +6018-785 0266 (Jun Wei) and +6019-6461586 (Himn Yau) or email them at [email protected]

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