'Aid container Malaysia-Syria' needs foodstuff for Syrians

NILAI: A Malaysian-born couple carrying out the 'Aid Container Malaysia-Syria' programme, a humanitarian relief project, is appealing to the public for food items to assist Syrians suffering from a brutal civil war in that country, especially with the month of Ramadan approaching.

Among the foodstuff much needed by Jamalulail Ismail and his wife Sofinee Harun to be sent to Syria are baby's milk, tomato puree, and canned sardines.
Sofinee, 43, said they also hoped that Malaysians could contribute Raya cakes and cookies as the container ship would sail for a month ferrying the aid and was expected to reach Syria a few days before Aidilfitri.

"This second series of the aid project is focusing more on channelling aid to 300 residents from 50 families at Atmeh village in the Idlib region and the consignment is expected to last for three months.

Members of the public who wish to assist can send their contributions to the aid collection centre at Lot 17 & 18, Jalan Nilai Square 1, here, by May 18, the latest, or they can contact Sofinee at 019-3162314 or 06-8507673 for enquiries.

The 'Aid Container Malaysia-Syria' effort also plans to send gifts to about 1,000 children, especially orphans in Atmeh village and the surrounding areas in conjunction with Aidilfitri.

Sofinee and Jamalulail, 48, who have been living in the United Kingdom for 18 years now and returned to Malaysia last Tuesday for a five-week holiday to see to the managing of the aid mission, have had experience in channelling aid to victims of civil conflicts since 2015.

They are being assisted by about 200 volunteers to gather and pack the contributions before being sent to Port Klang and shipped to Syria.

Jamalulail said the situation in Syria was still volatile with many of its people suffering from shortage of food, which prompted the couple to voluntarily channel aid donated from the public to the Syrians.

"In the first series of this project, we had on March 11, sent a container ship-load of food, clothing, hospital beds, oxygen tanks, and toys, all worth about RM239,000, to Atmeh.

"The aid distribution is still being carried out by 15 local volunteers there to about 2,000 residents in and around Atmeh village," he said, adding that this time they hoped to send RM350,000 worth of aid.

In 2015, the couple had initiated a food aid mission known as 'Kitchen in Calais' in France. At the refugee camp there, better known as 'Jungle', the refugees were from conflict areas like Syria, Afghanistan, and Iran.

However, late October last year, the refugee camp was closed by the French government and the aid kitchen demolished. But this did not break the couple's spirit and they continued to help people displaced by conflicts with a new initiative, 'Aid Container Malaysia-Syria'.

Sofinee said after seeing container-loads of aid coming from people in the United Kingdom and other European countries for the 'Kitchen in Calais' effort, she and her husband came up with the new initiative as they felt that Malaysians were equally generous and compassionate to make the mission possible. – Bernama