Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Connecting with Welfare officials

The Welfare Ministry is tasked with assisting the poor and the needy in Malaysia but it is a monumental task for just one government body to handle all the social needs and dire emergencies that crop up like bad mushrooms. NGOs therefore play an important role as the on-the-ground facilitators to reach to the innermost core of the poverty stricken areas and denizens of otherwise hidden slums. JS has been working hands on with many poor single parents located in various parts of the Klang Valley region without the Welfare Ministry being the wiser. Not any more. Recently, Parents Without Partners (PWP) and its social entrepreneurship arm JS went to visit some of the more pertinent Welfare Departments – specifically the KL Welfare Department at Jalan Pahang, the Selangor Welfare HQ at Shah Alam, the Subang Jaya Welfare Dept at SS15 and the Woman, Family and Community Ministry at Putrajaya. Volunteer Lillian and co-founder Mary Anne made the rounds to try and connect directly with the pertinent officials themselves. All except the KL Welfare Dept were very friendly and pro-actively happy to assist us in our enquries and complaints pertaining to the aids and grants available for the single parents and the needy. The KL Welfare Dept on the other hand, insisted that we had to wait for an appointment before we could even meet the director’s PA let alone the director or his deputy ..because all were involved in very important meetings! Haniza Tamin assistant to the director of Socio Economic Development and Welfare Aid at Putrajaya was most helpful with her suggestions on how PWP could liase with the various Welfare Depts to tap into the government aid and assistance programmes for the poor and marginalized in society. Encik Mohd Fadhlie Khamis heading the Subang Jaya Welfare Dept has obviously been one of the more diligent officials around. Since he took over the dept in 2011 last year, he has managed to clear more than half of the 2,300 backlog cases left by his predecessor. This explains how one of our single mums finally got the RM200 (RM100 per school going kid) she desperately needed after applying for four different times over the last three years! Kudos to folks like Mohd Fadlie and Haniza because it is dedication and a genuine compassionate desire to really help the poor with govt assistance that can make a vast and visible difference today!