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Malaysian Embassy’s gifts of hope amid COVID-19 despair

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Ambassador Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim (centre) and embassy staff with director Sok Po (third from right) and National Blood Transfusion Center staff during the Malaysian embassy’s charity programme at the centre. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Nations around the world are pumping billions of dollars into the fight against COVID-19, including providing funds and supplies to some countries in need.

However, the Embassy of Malaysia in Cambodia recently came up with its own initiative to help target communities and frontliners in the virus response in their time of need.

The embassy launched a charity programme “We Care, We Share” under the theme “Malaysia-Cambodia fight COVID-19 Together.”

The programme was the brainchild of Ambassador Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim who wanted to demonstrate the embassy’s solidarity with local communities and the unsung heroes at the frontlines.

On April 22, embassy officials, led by Deputy Chief of Mission, Khairul Gadafi Kamaludin, reached out to the local communities in five different places of worship.

The embassy donated about 100 non-perishable food items each to Darussalam Mosque, Wat Pothiyaram Wat Chas, Wat Prachum Sako road, Lok Yeay Mao Temple and Jesus Village Church.

The food aid to communities through the places of worship was the embassy’s way of conveying that it is in the fight against the pandemic together with Cambodians.

The initiative comes amid despair and hysteria over the virus which has claimed over a million lives and some countries are indulging in a blame game over how COVID-19 could have been prevented.

The embassy’s simple message is that even simple food aid demonstrates that its officials and staff can care and share what they can within their means in order to unite with the Kingdom in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Most of the local communities in Cambodia are from different income levels. Several have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and are looking for ways to earn revenue to bring food on the table.

They can only hope that this viral pandemic ends soon, but then no one knows when this will happen.

The embassy’s message to them is loud and clear that through the aid it has reached out to vulnerable communities to give them a ray of hope that things will get better and that they need to unite in the anti-virus fight by following the policies and rules adopted by the government to mitigate the spread of the virus.

“When we have a grave situation like COVID-19, it requires a collective effort from everyone to fight against the dreaded disease that is claiming lives,” Khairul Kamaludin Gadafi said in an interview.

The embassy’s response did not end with the five places of worship. Instead, it extended the programme to honour and celebrate the unsung heroes who are working non-stop on the frontlines to tackle the coronavirus.

On April 27, Mr Eldeen Husaini led a team from the Malaysian Embassy to bring some cheer to the unsung heroes at hospitals in the capital.

The non-perishable food aid was donated to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, National Blood Transfusion Center Cambodia and Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital.

The aid was donated through collaboration between the Embassy of Malaysia and Tourism Malaysia.

“We must acknowledge and appreciate the work done by the doctors and hospital staffers worldwide for their life-saving work and help to stem the deadly disease. We want to offer mental support, keep their spirits up, show our gratitude and honour the doctors and nurses on the frontline,” Ambassador Eldeen Hussaini said in an interview.

In this viral pandemic war, the heroes wear scrubs.

Dr Ky Santy from Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital is one of them, who went to work daily as the coronavirus took hold even though he is at high risk of contracting the coronavirus.

The kind gesture made by the Embassy of Malaysia was received well by the the frontliners.

In his response to the aid, NBTCC director Sok Po said: “It is a good thought and gesture on behalf of the ambassador and the Malaysian Embassy to show us kindness and gratitude for the work we do.”

“The need for our service is apparent,” one of the nurses at NBTCC told Khmer Times. “As long as I’m healthy and able to offer it, I will do it.”

On April 28, the mission to keep up the spirits of unsung heroes amid COVID-19 was further extended to Pasteur du Cambodge, renowned for biomedical research that stands out in many disciplines.

Mr Eldeen Husaini thanked each and everyone in Pasteur du Cambodge for their hard work in biomedical research and developing vaccines for infectious diseases that can threaten life.

The Ambassador also commended the Cambodian government on handling the coronavirus crisis even without movement restrictions or a lockdown being imposed. The Kingdom has recorded only 122 infections with 119 recoveries and no deaths.

Mr Eldeen Husaini also applauded and praised Cambodians for following the government’s measures to contain the virus.

After the visit to Pasteur du Cambodge, the embassy ended its programme by extending the food aid to the National Commission of Combating COVID-19 on April 28.

“We are one. During these challenging times, we follow with great respect everyone who works together to fight this crisis and keep critical processes ongoing,” Mr Eldeen Hussaini said at the event.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”- Aesop quoted in his fable – The Lion and the Mouse.

This is something that the world needs to learn from the Malaysian Embassy in their symbolic quest to educate people about how this deadly virus is indifferent to what one’s status is. Whether you are rich or poor, healthy or strong, the virus is a universal enemy and has taken the lives of a million people.

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