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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3 — Fund raising, undeniably, takes a lot of time and effort.
With the burgeoning number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Malaysia, the pie for money and other forms of aid has gotten smaller in the past few years.
More so, with corporations tightening their belts due to the state of affairs.
With all these obstacles, NGOs often scramble to get what they can to keep afloat.
Others, like the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) that helps fund certain initiatives to help people living with HIV (PLHIV), may face a tougher time due to the added stigma and discrimination that affect key populations.
MAF has different fund-raising activities all year round and this year, one of them is making a comeback after six years.
Previously known as the Red Ribbon Gala, the Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Award Gala Dinner will be held on December 16 and promises its share of glam while seeking to raise funds.
Organisers hope to raise RM2.5 million and funds will be used for HIV prevention, AIDS care and support for PLHIV.
In addition, the Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Award will be given as recognition of outstanding contributions by organisations and individuals in contributing towards ending AIDS as a public health concern in Malaysia.
There have been more than 20 nominations and the winner will be revealed during the dinner at Hilton Kuala Lumpur, the event's hotel partner.
Previous winners have shown courage, commitment and dedication towards having an impact on communities most affected by HIV/AIDS.
They include the Penang Family Health Development Association (2012); Pink Triangle Foundation (2008); staff nurse Jubaidah Bee Nagoor Pitchay (2006); Matron Fun Choon Kee (2004) and Michael Chow (2002).
Others were Persatuan Pengasih Malaysia (2000); Datuk Dr Christopher Lee (1998) and the Students of Limkokwing Institute of Creative Technology (1996).
This year, the winner will receive a trophy by Rafflesia, a cash prize of RM10,000 and a certificate of excellence.
MAF executive director Jasmin Jalil said the gala would give a chance for corporations to be a part of the solution to help fight the disease.
“It is not just about the glamour or social networking. Corporations have a chance to help those who need assistance. We need all the help we can get.”
According to Health Ministry statistics, there were 3,347 new HIV infections last year, a considerable decrease from its all-time high in 2002 at 6,978 cases.
The trend for the past few years has shown that when it came to new cases, sexual transmission was at 91 per cent last year compared to drug use, which accounted for five per cent.
This drop among drug users is largely contributed by the government’s move to have methadone replacement therapy and needle syringe exchange programme.
Those aged between 20 and 29 made up 45 per cent of new infections, followed by 32 per cent of those aged from 30 to 39.
Jasmin added that the foundation was quite pleased with the response shown so far by various organisations in coming forward to donate their money and time.
He also said MAF was honoured to have the prime minister's wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, who is known for her compassion for the plight of the underprivileged, grace the occasion.
“Discrimination needs to be left out of the equation. At the end of the day, it is about helping fellow Malaysians in their time of need so they can lead healthy and meaningful lives.”
Besides the main award, there will be the MAF patron’s awards to recognise an outstanding contribution to end AIDS; long-serving trustees and those involved in corporate social responsibility.
Entertainment that evening is set to be provided by Dayang Nurfaizah and Bob Yusof, the foundation's Red Ribbon Celebrity Supporters (RRCS).
Fellow RRCS Fahrin Ahmad and Deborah Henry will play emcees for the evening.
Expect a panel discussion on HIV/AIDS in the new Malaysia and what more needs to be done in fighting the disease.
There will also be an auction of items, including jewellery and artwork.
Malay Mail is the media partner for the event.
* Tables are available in the following categories: diamond (RM50,000); platinum (RM30,000) and gold (RM20,000). For more information, please contact Nurshaliza Manaf at [email protected] or 014-504 8927 or Azahemy Abdullah at [email protected] or 016-646 5874.