Want to make a difference in your community? This guide offers insights on how to be more community-centric and provide the help that your community needs.
Now, hear me out: What if we lived in a society where everyone has access to quality education, equal employment opportunities, and a strong sense of belonging? Sounds amazing, right?
This is the vision guiding Malaysia's community-centric initiatives, which have sought to foster social cohesion and sustainable development over the past decade. However, our experiences volunteering at vaccination centres and distributing care packages during the COVID-19 pandemic have taught us a valuable lesson: For community-centric initiatives to truly succeed, we need the help of the younger generation.
Let's start at the beginning. At its core, ‘community-centric’ is a perspective or principle that prioritises the needs and well-being of the people within a community. When discussing community-centric initiatives, we're talking about programmes, projects, and activities that care for and help those around us. But just as we would set goals when choosing a career path or planning a project, these initiatives also call for clear goals to direct their efforts. So, how do community-centric initiatives establish their goals? Well, they use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)!
One example is Sumbangan Tunai Rahmah (STR), a cash aid programme for the B40 income group under the Finance Ministry. This initiative advances Goal 1: No Poverty, which aims to 'end poverty in all its form everywhere'. Program Pendidikan Khas Integrasi (PPKI) under the Education Ministry is another example. This initiative aligns with Goal 4: Quality Education, which aims to 'ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all'.
At Taylor’s, we proudly champion community-centric initiatives and confidently endorse the integral role played by the younger generation in their success. Therefore, we strive fervently to empower our Taylorians and embolden them to contribute purposefully to our communities. Through our initiatives, such as Projek BacaBaca and MY Bamboo, we have witnessed the collaboration and collective effort among students from across our schools towards making a meaningful difference. And the latest addition to that list is CAREbinet by The Risers!
CAREbinet by The Risers is a community-centric initiative that addresses the essential needs of students in underserved communities, thus providing support for their academic success. Our students actively participated in constructing the CAREbinets and organising donation drives to collect household and study supplies for stocking them.
Once fully stocked, the CAREbinets were then distributed to schools in Kuala Lumpur. And through our partnerships, the CAREbinets will be consistently restocked throughout the year. Moreover, this initiative underscores the importance of community involvement in nurturing a sustainable and inclusive future through educational programmes such as talks and workshops.
After learning about these inspirational community-centric initiatives and their aspirations, it's understandable if you feel overwhelmed about how you can help.
You may think that only large organisations, such as the government or educational institutions like ours, are capable of helping our community. However, I'm here to tell you that anyone can contribute, regardless of size or status. Even the tiniest actions can have a huge impact! So, let me guide you on how you can be community-centric (if not more) and contribute to your community:
Identifying community needs: Helping begins with identifying where help is needed! You can attend community-centric events at your school, college, or neighbourhood to get to know the needs within your community, or opt to scroll the Instagram accounts of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs)!
Spreading awareness: Helping starts with spreading the word! You can raise awareness about a community issue by sharing information on social media, distributing educational materials, or organising events. This informs and inspires others to get involved. Take the floods of December 2021 as an example. Through social media, people promptly registered as flood relief volunteers, rallied with kayaks and life jackets, and supplied food to the victims.
Volunteering time and skills: Making time is key to making a difference! You can explore volunteer opportunities that match your skills (or interests) or get involved in initiatives that need an extra hand! If you have a passion for education, why not volunteer as a reading coach for a child through our initiative Projek BacaBaca!
Supporting local businesses: Support your community by spending within it! When you need to shop, prioritise local brands over global ones. And when you need to eat, be sure to visit the nearby mamak or kopitiam! By opting for local options, you not only keep money circulating within the local economy but also contribute to the creation of local jobs.
Participating in community-centric organisations: Make a difference with just a little participation! By becoming a part of a community-centric organisation and actively participating in its activities, you can establish relationships and demonstrate your care for the communities you engage with. The Malaysian Red Crescent Society is one such non-profit organisation dedicated to humanitarian acts and services. As students, you may have concerns about the commitments that come with joining large organisations. To start small, consider joining our clubs and societies, like Taylor’s Community Service Initiatives (C.S.I.) Volunteers, or participating in initiatives like CAREbinet!
In conclusion, being a community-centric Malaysian means embracing unity in diversity and embodying a strong can-do spirit. As our nation progresses, it’s important that we progress together, leaving no one behind. One way we can achieve this is by lending a helping hand to those in need within our community. As youths, we possess the passion, energy, and creativity to make a meaningful difference in our communities. Now, there's just one question left to ask: Are you ready to lend a helping hand?
Ishaanaah Ravi is a Bachelor of Education (Honours) alumna who enjoys reading and creative writing in her free time. She also finds fulfillment in conducting volunteer work, believing that life is not just about what we receive, but also about what we give.
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