United Sikhs feeding Syrian refugees despite setbacks

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The Sun  | Petaling Jaya, Malaysia | 7 March 2015 | Asia Samachar |
United Sikhs volunteer Gurpreet Singh with refugee children at Hama City, Syria - THE SUN
United Sikhs volunteer Gurpreet Singh with refugee children at Hama City, Syria – THE SUN

By Timothy Achariam

From mid-December last year till the middle of February, one man has transcended social stigma, borders, Islamophobia and even years of bitter conflict to feed thousands of starving refugees fleeing their war-torn country of Syria.

The United Sikhs Malaysia Humanitarian Aid organisation, an affiliate of the United Nations (UN), coordinator Rishiwant Singh whose tireless efforts helped feed some 40,000 starving refugees in the small border town of Tabanovce in Macedonia said the goal now was to sustain feeding the refugees that have all flocked there till June at the very least.

“It is not about what we did or how we did it, it is now about us carrying on our efforts till June,” he told theSun.

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Rishiwant said in order to carry on feeding the people till June, there needs to be a constant and sustainable flow of donations coming in.

“The organisation is running very low on funds and our efforts might not last through March if we don’t get funds,” he said, adding that the monthly cost to feed the refugees amount to US$10,000 (RM40,620) .

Rishi added that the United Sikhs were not alone in this endeavour as they have teamed up with two other Macedonian NGOs, all of which have had differences and conflicts with each another in the past.

“These three NGOs represent three separate communities that have had wars among them in the past. We have Kastriot Rexhepi of NUN culture civil association leading a Sunni-Muslim organisation and the Bektashi community of Macedonia leading the mission,” he said.

“Together, we have put our differences aside to serve humanity. We hope we can be an example to others to join us,” he said.

The United Sikhs are also planning to take their annual Good Will walk to the international stage this year.

Rishi said the goal was to set up food banks in nine of the Balkan states.

“We are planning to go back in July to do the Good Will walk from the Serbian border to the Albanian border walking through Macedonia, it’s a very scenic walk and we want to spread our mission and gather funds through this walk,” he said.

“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.

The new mission for taking the Good Will Walk internationally is to keep feeding the dire poor in that part of Europe, regardless whether they are refugees or not.

Donations can be wired to United Sikhs Malaysia Humanitarian Aid Organisation’s CIMB Bank account (80-0755672-4).

Donors can send the transaction slip to unitedsikhsmalaysia@gmail.com for receipts and accountability. – The Sun, 6 March 2016

 

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

 

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