In service, we unite

NGOs play a big role in being the glue for society

Non-governmental organisations (NGO) working with communities have found that bringing people together to work towards a goal is the best way to build unity.

One organisation that has inherently united people of various races and professions to serve the community is Rotary International – the world’s oldest community service organisations.

Some 3,000 Rotarians in Malaysia have taken on countless humanitarian projects to improve the well-being of local and international communities.

Rotary District 3300 Malaysia Governor Siti Subaidah attributed Rotary’s motto, “Service Above Self” as well as its non-partisan and non-sectarian stance for drawing people from various backgrounds to serve the community as one.

“All the projects Rotarians undertake forge unity and respect for one another,” she said.

Rotary Club of Bandar Utama vice-president K.G. Tan said when people practise moderation and accept one another’s differences, they could achieve unity in diversity.

A significant programme that had brought communities together is the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Award (Ryla) programme.

Siti recalled that three years ago, children of policemen were invited to a five-day Ryla programme held at the Police Training Centre (Pulapol).

One police officer’s child said she enjoyed the camaraderie among Malaysians at the programme despite just having met one another.

Siti said such events were important as youths played an important part in instilling unity and removing wrong perceptions.

Rotary Club of Bandar Utama president-elect Ong Hock Siew cited another example of a Ryla programme about four years ago where a group of youths helped some destitute and elderly people by cleaning their homes.

“The youths learned that together, they could achieve much in solving issues and it opened their eyes to the need for peace, harmony and understanding,” he said.

In good and bad times

Taiwan Buddhist Tsu-Chi Foundation Malaysia deputy chief executive officer Sio Kee Hong said its disaster relief work in Kuala Krau in Temerloh, Pahang, in January brought various communities together.

More than 2,000 volunteers went to Kuala Krau to assist the flood victims.


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