UNITED SIKHS is a NGO aimed at empowering those in need, especially disadvantaged and minority communities across the world.
The Malaysian Chapter was started in 2004, by the late Rishiwant Singh Randhawa, who was at Ground Zero, during the Bandar Aceh Tsunami, the same year.
GoodNews caught up with the UNITED SIKHS, an NGO which provided more than 1,500 families with essential items during the first Movement Control Order (MCO), on 18 March 2020, and are helping out again during the current MCO.
We learnt that besides essential items, they provided 70,000 packets of vegetarian food to those in need in two community centres as identified by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), in 2020.
The NGO mainly consists of Sikhs, however, their mission is to serve all, UNITED SIKHS vice president and logistics director Mandeep Singh, told GoodNews.
“Living within our means has been a norm for everyone. We usually never appreciate what we have and our needs keep increasing, day by day.
“My entire life changed after joining the Kelantan disaster relief on 2014. This was my turning point and has impacted my entire life and even changed my lifestyle.
“A home is where we live and bask in happiness, so can you imagine watching your home being swept away by the flood? What about losing a family member within a split second?” he asked GoodNews.
He pointed out the Jakarta Tsunami in 2018 also had a significant impact on his life.
“I began to learn how to coordinate on ground zero, how to manage a helicopter drop which includes looking for a base camp for the landing and most importantly, ensuring sufficient aid is delivered.
“Every mission has different challenges. Major missions that I had coordinated included; the 2014 Kelantan flood, the Goodwill walk of 2015 from Wang Kelian (Perlis) to Melaka (784km in 41 days), organising Orang Asli projects, the Grik flood relief 2017, Goodwill walk 2016 and 2017, the Jakarta Tsunami 2018, the East Coast flood 2018 and 2019 as well as various missions during the Covid-19 Pandemic,” he told GoodNews.
My first time volunteering was for the flood relief in Pahang and I initially had mixed feelings about it and did not know what to expect, dental officer Dr Tezveendev Kaur Randhawa told GoodNews.
“Floods are one of the most highly devastating natural disasters and recently, I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer with UNITED SIKHS as a part of their flood relief project in Pahang.
“Many families were badly affected and their houses were washed away and destroyed. We provided aid to those in areas affected by the flood in Bentong, Raub, Benta, Mentakab and Temerloh,” she said.
I learnt that there are many people whose lives are much more difficult that mine, she said.
“It made me feel that I should be grateful for the things that I have in my life.
“During this project, we distributed household items, food and many other necessities to the victims. My team went to Temerloh and it was an eye opening experience as we went through the housing areas that were still flooded.
“There were victims, families and small children walking through the water, without any belongings left, as it was all lost.
“My eyes teared,” she added.
The scenes there were heart wrenching, she claimed.
“Some of them had not eaten in days and there was no electricity. They looked at us with hopeful eyes as we were bringing them the essential items they needed. The kids were overjoyed when they saw help coming. I was happy and grateful that I got to impact the lives and community there.”
Rishiwant, who passed away a few years ago in a road accident in India while on a mission, vowed to feed every hungry person that comes across his path and served humanity with the motto of “Recognise the human race as one’’.
According to UNITED SIKHS, he was also involved with offering psychological help to the 2005 Sri Lanka Tsunami survivors, sending aid to the survivors of the 2008 Myanmar cyclone, building homes and a church after a typhoon hit the Philippines in 2013, offering food aid after the 2015 Myanmar floods and organised the 2014 Good Will Walk, in which he and others travelled 750km for 34 days, in an effort to raise money for several noble causes in Malaysia.
Watch the heartfelt video by The Star.
UNITED SIKHS intend to transform, alleviate, educate and protect the lives of underprivileged individuals and minority communities impacted by disasters, natural or man-made, suffering from hunger, illiteracy, diseases, or from violation of civil and human-rights, into informed and vibrant members of society by fostering sustainable programs regardless of color, race, religion or creed.
They also promote diversity and equal opportunities amongst its employees, volunteers and project beneficiaries.
With that spirit, the Malaysian chapter soldiers on.
For those who want to aid their cause as they prepare for the second wave of helping those who are impacted directly by the MCO, contact the UNITED SIKHS collection centre at 011-7116 9179.