KUALA LUMPUR: An NGO that serves the hardcore poor and homeless is facing a bleak future after its office in Chow Kit here was flooded due to water leak recently. The office also operates a community clinic on the first floor of a building in Jalan Raja Laut.
Its situation is worsened by lack of financial reserves from donations and an increase in rentals in the area.
Malaysian Public Health and Welfare Association president Elisha Kor Krishnan, 44, said she could not believe it when she saw water flowing down the stairs at the office.
“I was walking up the stairs at 8pm last week to look up a file in my room when I heard a loud sound. Out of curiosity, I went to see what was happening.
“To my surprise, I found water coming down the stairs. I quickly entered my room to collect some of my personal belongings and saw water leaking out of the sink drain hole in my room. I was worried the entire 3,000sq ft floor, including our clinic, would be flooded,” Elisha told theSun.
She said the clinic’s medical equipment such as the sphygmomanometer used to check blood pressure, blood glucose meters, and test kits used to check for HIV, syphilis, Hepatitis C and gonorrhea were submerged.
She estimated the total loss, including the medical items, to be between RM20,000 and RM25,000.
Currently, the association only has RM7,000 left in its account, said Elisha, a former architect who has more than 20 years’ experience in social work.
“We will need to raise RM60,000 as we run five programmes involving single mothers, sex workers and people living with HIV.
“We have an entrepreneur programme that will need to be put on hold until we find a new office and a cleaner space to hold our activities. Our project that involves children, such as Quran reading and painting activities, will also have to be put on hold.
“But we will continue to serve cooked meals daily to those who rely on us. The meals are partially sponsored by NGO Beyond Borders,” she said.
During the interview, Elisha was tending to a patient who is an Indonesian migrant worker. Tini, 63, who was with her two-year-old grandson Arkan Al Falah, often comes to the centre to attend the Quran reading classes held in the evenings. She also joins the queue to receive the cooked meals at noon.
“My grandson likes coming here, especially since he is away from his mother. It is a place where he can be with friends his age,” Tini said.
The NGO has a total of 10 staff on its payroll. Elisha is eyeing a potential office at Menara Cendana, which is about 10 minutes from its current office.
“Rental for the new place is RM4,500. In total, we’ll need to put a downpayment of RM20,000, which includes security and management fees. It is steep. Our current rent is RM3,400 while monthly expenditure comes to about RM300,000.
Elisha said about 12,000 people visit her clinic each month and most of them have yet to gain employment or are under-employed.
“Without additional funds, we will not be able to help them as much as we wish,” she said, adding that the NGO started in 2013 with a handful of like-minded people who wanted to make a difference.
Those interested to know more about the association can contact Elisha at 016-684 3822 or visit www.facebook.com/PBPKKUM.