Sunday, 3 January 2016

Kedai Jalanan and Green Living Collaboration

Kedai Jalanan is such a great project that by the middle of the year, I was making plans with Lin Idrus to have a joint session to get Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Green Living to work together with Kedai Jalanan. What's there not to love about it? Preloved clothes, bags and usable items are kept out of landfills and are given a new lease of life. The urban poor and homeless community are treated with dignity and offered useful things new to them. MNS members get to volunteer with the homeless community and meet our street clients, many for the first time.
I did an event writeup and announcement in our newsletter which ran for two months to give our members sufficient time to spring clean for a good cause. I included facts such as that most  of the clothes dropped off in recycling bins end up being sold in 'bundle stores' in developing countries instead of being used to directly benefit the underprivileged in our own city. Many of our clients have also requested clothes suitable for work (e.g. blouses, work shirts, trousers, shoes, baju kurung) as they wish to attend job interviews to seek better employment opportunities, so let us help them in order that they may help themselves. The objective of this project is to help redirect usable resources to local beneficiaries.

The first month, I received a few inquiries, but the second month onwards, response was phenomenal. MNS members from near and far called to arrange for collection and delivery of clothing and other items. Many asked to volunteer. Lin and I were pleasantly surprised by the positive response, especially at the last minute. There was a carnival-like atmosphere at the sidewalks of Jalan Panggung on the Sunday afternoon we set up our pop-up store (20th Dec). Even some of the homeless individuals came to help us unpack and hang up clothing and put up clothing racks.
The volunteers interacted really well with our street clients and everyone felt it to be a very positive experience.

The meeting point.
(Photo credits: Liza Manshoor)

Volunteers helping to put up racks and hang up clothing. Some of our street clients showed up early to help so that they would be first in line to choose the items they want.  We love interacting with them when they come early to help, before things get too crazy at the pop-up store and conversation becomes impossible.

Some of our MNS volunteers from Kuantan and other cities coordinated their visits to KL with this weekend so that they could come and help out.

Rangamal and Rizal working together to sort and hang up clothing.

 Proud of our reliable volunteers: Rangamal, Liza, Illani and Pui May.
Pasu, Jehan, Husna and Fashilah. Volunteers and friends like them is what makes our country beautiful. 
 MNS volunteers, represent!
From left: Pasupathy, Rizal, me, Illani and Pui May.
 (Photo credits: Liza Manshoor)

Business in full swing. Our street clients were very happy that they got to choose more items this time around thanks to the increased number of donated items.

Lin Idrus (left) and her fantastic UM team. Our good friends Leena (4th from left) and Jun (far right) were in town and joined in, too. 
We received so many donated goods that our pop-up store extended to the sidewalks of 3 shophouses (all of which are thankfully closed on Sundays). Our street clients can be seen here choosing footwear, bags and toiletries. 

Most of the items were all taken up by our street clients by the end of the evening (around 7 p.m.) and the volunteers packed up the remaining items to be taken to the urban poor community in Chow Kit, so nothing was wasted.
It was a wonderful and productive Sunday and a good start to the holiday season. Sharing our resources is good for the Planet and human society, and volunteering makes better persons of us all.

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