KUALA LUMPUR: While 75 percent of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated, many refugees and migrants, especially the undocumented, have yet to receive their first dose.
Considering this, the Church of St Joseph, Sentul in collaboration with Malaysian Red Crescent, organized a COVID-19 Immunisation Vaccination (CIV) programme for refugees and migrants living around the church’s vicinity.
Initially, the parish obtained their particulars through friends who attended Mass, and some were adoptees who received monthly rations from the Parish Integral Human Development (PIHD). There are mainly from Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lankan, India, and Africa, working in factories, restaurants, and construction sites.
The first CIV programme took place on October 16 from 8.00am to 4.00pm. Some 300 immigrants, mostly undocumented, turned up at the church hall for their first and second doses. Many did not have the MySejahtera app, so it was a little tedious for the committee to register them before administering the vaccine. The second CIV was done on Oct 30, 2021, between 8.00 am and 2.00 pm. This time it was much smoother as they were already registered.
The parish is organizing another CIV programme for documented and undocumented refugees and migrant communities on Saturday, Nov 13, 2021, at 8 am. So far, 130 people have signed up. Gabriel Moses, the Parish Pastoral Coordinator (PPC) chairman, is liaising with the Malaysian Red Crescent to make the necessary arrangements.
Nov 13 is also the Fifth World Day of the Poor (WDOP), and in conjunction with this year’s theme, “The Poor You Will Always Have with You” (MK 14:7), the parish will supply packed food for participants of the CIV programme and the underprivileged.
Since 2017, the parish has been celebrating the WDOP cum Parish Family Day in a grand and inclusive manner by inviting the underprivileged and migrants within the church’s vicinity to join in the festivities. During the pandemic, they marked the day by providing groceries and packed food instead.
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy