Freemasons across the whole of the District Grand Lodge of the Eastern Archipelago working together
DGLEA COVID-19 Project
Using Social Media and Grassroots to identify Covid-19 projects, hold meetings and approve release of funds.
On 11 February 2020, WHO announced a name for the new Coronavirus disease: COVID-19. Since then this virus has emerged as a pandemic within a period of 3 months affecting more than 180 countries worldwide.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia is part of the ongoing worldwide pandemic with the virus confirmed to have reached Malaysia in January 2020, when it was first detected on travelers. At that time reported cases remained relatively low. However, within a few weeks, Malaysia had recorded the largest cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia, breaching over the 2,000 mark in active cases by the end of March from fewer than 30 at the start of the month. By 16 March, the virus is reported in every
state and Federal Territory in the country.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia held a live nationwide telecast on 16 March 2020 at 10:00 pm to announce the decision of the Federal Government in implementing the Movement Control Order (MCO) restricting mass gatherings, travel and ordering people to stay at home. In addition, the with the spike in Covid-19 cases in the country, the Registrar of Societies (RoS) banned all societies from holding any activity, including their annual general meetings (AGM) until the end of June. As our District, Lodges and Chapters fall under the authority of the RoS government body our District Grand Master immediately complied with this ruling to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, and at the same time, protect Malaysians from the outbreak. Thus all lodges buildings were closed and all lodge meetings ceased.
At the time of this writing as of 8th June 2020, more than 7 million people worldwide have been affected with a death toll of more than 400,000. Malaysia alone has recorded a total of 8,300 positive cases with a death toll of 117.
As the conditional MCO is still ongoing and a double digit of new cases being reported daily, the Covid-19 pandemic is declining, and seems to be under control.
Making Good Use of Social Media to relief those Front Liners and our Communities suffering under the weight of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Although our meetings were put on hold it has not stopped us from raising funds for charities, while still observing self-isolation rules. By making good use of social media once again the kind and charitable hearts on Freemasons across the county responded in large numbers.
The Covid-19 assistance Project was born with the aim to rally the Masters, Principals and Charity Stewards of each and every Lodges and Chapters within the District quickly do two things to assist the needy in their community and a grassroots lever.
By mid-April, most of the responses were received.
It has been an amazing experience in reviewing the contents of the return and the feedback by Brethren/Companions of the Lodges/Chapters. Interestingly, of the 40 Lodges in the District, 38 or 95% have participated directly or via the allocated funds from District Grand Charity. It does come over most clearly that our Brethren/Companions are kindhearted and generously disposed towards this Covid-19 Project
Turning to Chapters, the position here is somewhat different. We have suggested at the outset of the project that we should not ‘double tax’ any Companion or Brother. And since the Companions of the Chapter are also the Brethren of the Lodge, we were more at ease in following up with the Companions. There were three Chapters participating in the Covid Assistance Project, namely, the Kinta Chapter that donated breakfast to the medical front liners; the Selangor Royal Arch Chapter that pledged to contribute RM4,000 to the DGC-Covid Fund and the Eastern Gate RAC donated S$500 towards the Guardians of Angel Project.
Returning to Lodges in the District, a point has to be made that almost all the Lodges are naturally charitable and generous as they continue to uphold the Grand Principle of Relief, and to come to the aid of many who are affected by Covid-19 disease and Movement Control Order :
Medical Front liners in Hospitals and Health Clinics
Homeless, Jobless, Underprivileged Families
Contribution to Red Crescent Society, Direct Donations
i) Medical Front liners in Hospitals and Health Clinics
As many as 16 Lodges were involved in the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as disposable isolation gowns, face masks, face shields, surgical masks, and gloves. These items of PPE are required to protect the front liners from the risk of being infected and to curb the spread of the highly infectious and deadly disease.
Lodges in the North were most active and were early pace setters in the provision of PPE. Lodge Idris, Lodge Napier and Perak Jubilee focused their early supplies primarily on the front-liners of Ipoh General Hospital. Similarly, Lodge Neptune and Lodge Kedah contributed their supplies to Penang Hospital and Kedah Hospital respectively, while Kinta Lodge made its delivery to Health Clinics in Pinji and Green Town. In addition, six Lodges participated in the provision of breakfast, Lunchboxes, and meals to the Medical front liners in the various Hospitals who were having to work long hours, some without break.
ii) Homeless, Jobless, Disabled, B40 Families
There were 14 Lodges involved primarily in the provision of meals, essential food items, beverages, and groceries.
iii) Contribution to Red Crescent and Direct Donation
From the foregoing, it is without doubt that the Brethren/Companions of our Lodges/Chapters were most kind, as they have made generous contributions and have been actively sponsoring and participating in the Covid-19 Assistance project.
A Summary of some unique initiatives adopted by the following Lodges participating in the Covid Project:
Left to Right : WBro Datuk John lo, WBro Sam Chin, Dr.William Gotulis (Pengarah Queen Elizabeth Hospital), WBro Jonathan Yee, Lady Pamela, Bro Sentilnathan Subramaniam
Mr Deep Singh, (in blue PPE gown) Founder of Guru Nanak Kitchen, distributing food at Pudu Area. WM Charanjeet of Edward Holiday Lodge, supports and assists Guru Nanak Kitchen in feeding the needy and the homeless.