Charity That Is Sustainable And Creative

Most people perform charity by putting their own convenience first instead of thinking about what the recipients may need or desire.

As for Fancy Tan, who has been a member of the Rotarian for the past 26 years and a  member of the Rotary Club of Johor Centennial, likes to do things differently.

“There was one instance when we wanted to donate food at an orphanage. The most common type of food most donors would go for is fast food.  But one orphan came up to me and said she would like to eat “wan tan mee” (wantan noodles).

Fancy Tan (right) is seen here with a shopper (left) at MidValley Southkey megamall in Johor Bahru recently.

“What she requested for was cheaper than fast food and since it would make her happy, we decided to ask every child to let us know what they would like. It was the same at an old folks’ home. We talked to the old folks and found that they desired medicated ointment or cream for muscle pain.

“Recently we also brought 40 orphans to a shopping outlet and allocated each child some money to spend on things that they wanted. Most of them bought necessities like slippers, undergarments and toothpaste.” Tan said.

Tan is also the co-founder of Muhibbah Bersatu Resources (MBR) — a social enterprise that runs Again & Again, a charity preloved concept store that provides a platform for non-governmental organisations (NGO) to sell their products.  MBR also promotes Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover.

“If we were to go around asking people for funds, people may shun us. Again & Again is a project which I started with two other friends back in 2018.

“In the old days, people of my generation would wear our clothes for a long time, but today’s generation buys clothes online and would discard them after a short while.  So, it was not too hard going around collecting old clothes from our friends.

“We would sell the clothes at funfairs, pop-up stalls and bazaars. Eventually, we started a shop at Jalan Ibrahim but the problem with having a shop was people would start dumping old curtains, bedsheets and even undergarments outside the shop without even consulting us.

“In 2020, our business was affected by flash floods and the national lockdown which made us decide to close the shop after struggling for more than two years,” she said.

However, only the shop was gone but Again & Again survived and thrived!

The Again & Again booth at MidValley Southkey was set up in conjunction with the Chinese New Year.

Again & Again now operates only during the four main festive seasons and we provide the platform for NGOs like Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation (JARO) Johor Baru, Cerebral Palsy Association, Penan Women Project, Red Crescent National Committee for Community Services, Disaster Aid Malaysia and single mothers, among others.

“These NGOs’ would give their handicraft items for us to sell and the proceeds go back to the NGOs with Again & Again retaining some for expenses. In order to be self-sustainable, we need to source more things to offer to our customers and generate revenue for the Social Enterprise.  Currently, we have preloved as well as new items sourced locally and from China, Japan, France, among others.

“We also turn remnant cloths contributed by a tailor to be made into pouches and other handicrafts. We also collected some children’s story books and managed to sell them at a low price but it’s all right as we only wanted to promote a reading culture in children.

“And when a need to help others arises — such as the recent flash flood in Johor during the Chinese New Year, we chipped in with whatever we could afford for those who were affected,” she said.

“That is what a Social Enterprise does. We help the environment and people in need, but we also need to make the business and charity sustainable,” Tan added.

Some items are preloved while some are new and imported from France, China, Japan, among others.

Again & Again will be back at Midvalley Southkey megamall from 10 am to 10 pm in conjunction with the Ramadan and Raya Celebration around the end of March.

Those who would like to donate pre-loved items or NGOs which have handicrafts or products can contact Again & Again at 012-5914331 but please only donate items that are in clean and good condition.

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