KUALA LUMPUR, April 16, 2015:
What started as a simple and noble idea to help feed the homeless in Malaysia has turned into one with unity at the core of the Good Will Walk that commences on April 19.
Initiated by the United Sikhs, an affiliate of the United Nations (UN), the walk will see the participation of those from all walks of life and backgrounds, right from the average man on the street to popular personalities.
The 35-day and 750km-long journey aims to raise RM3.6 million in funds and 200 tonnes of non-perishable food items for the newly-registered Malaysia Foodbank Organisation.
United Sikhs humanitarian aid coordinator and food bank organisation director Rishiwant Singh Randhawa said apart from the main cause, the walk was also about getting people together for the cause.
“This walk is beyond race, religion and class. It is about Malaysians and foreigners coming together, walking together.
“And when they walk together, they will talk to each other.
“The whole idea is to reach out to people,” he said at a press conference today.
Rishiwant added that in all the years that disasters had struck Malaysians, especially with the east coast floods, the collection and dissemination of aid was always a daunting task.
“In every disaster we have gone for during the last 10 years, United Sikhs has been helping out victims. It takes time to prepare food and volunteers.
“It doesn’t take one or two days; it takes about 5 days to be ready, then go.
“So it’s about how we can get the food and funds before disasters happen. That’s how we came up with this,” he said of the food bank idea.
Rishiwant said apart from 10 walkers who were committed to the walk, the walk might also see the participation of celebrities like Datuk Sheila Majid and Sazzy Falak, and activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had also shown support for the cause, with several members of the Malaysian armed forces to join participants.
Entrepreneur Zhariff Afandi, who is also a director of the Malaysia Foodbank Organisation, will be joining in the walk for the first and last 100km of the journey that will start at Perlis and end in Malacca.
To Zhariff, the walk was about breaking the barriers that prevented Malaysians from being united.
“It’s just a small statement. Walking is walking. You know what they say — you got to walk the talk.
“So this is where we hope to walk the talk in bringing the spirit of unity together.
“It’s also like Rishiwant said — disasters happen almost every year.
“On top of that, it’s not just disasters; there’s a big issue of homelessness. There are people who do need help,” he said.
As far as the collection was concerned, Rishiwant said there was no set target.
“Are we going to get 1 tonne, 200 tonnes, 500 tonnes? I don’t know. Are we going to get a million ringgit, a thousand ringgit? I don’t know.
“We are just going to walk. It starts with the first step.”
The walk will start at Kampung Wang Kerian, Perlis, on April 19.