While the White Flag movement, or #KibarBenderaPutih, has lost much of its virality in the past few weeks, that doesn't mean there are no more individuals and families in dire need of help. At the same time, the work for the volunteers is not yet over.
Many companies have made it their business to provide aid packages to help those in need, and the people have also come together to launch useful initiatives.
There is no end to the websites and apps that pop up to highlight those in need and / or the locations of blackboards. Based on what we've found so far, here are 6 such local platforms.
1. Feed Selangor
Behind Feed Selangor are three 19-year-olds with no IT background. As they watched the white flag movement grow, they were forced to do whatever they can to help.
How it works: On it you will find the usual food bank locators, but they mainly focus on the ones in Selangor and KL. However, the youth behind Feed Selangor knew that some people's needs went beyond food.
Top 3 Ways Feed Selangor Provides Help / Photo Credit: Feed Selangor
Hence, they also have one side where people can find help for their mental wellbeing and another where people can use their labor in various organizations that help those in need. If you'd like to donate directly to organizations, there is a "Donate" page that lists the beneficiaries.
Things to note: Feed Selangor is not a website to post requests for help unless you are an organization in need of volunteers. Therefore there is no registration or registration process. The only point where you need to provide personal information is when you apply to volunteer.
The site is available in English and BM.
Use this when:
- You want to find a more organized list of boards in specific areas to ask for help on your own or on behalf of another person;
- You want help for your mental wellbeing;
- You want to volunteer with organizations to help those in need;
- You want to donate to organizations that help those in need.
2. Food Bank-MY
Foodbank-MY was created by two software engineers, Zulkarnain Abdullah and Ilyas Foo, and it appears to be mostly a website where you can easily find the locations of the food banks on a map.
How it works: On the map you will see grocery basket symbols or yellow and green dots. These dots indicate how many boards (including individuals offering assistance) are concentrated in that area.
Image source: foodbank-MY
Whenever you get help, you should turn on your location services so that you can be more accurately located on the map. Some of the information you can leave includes your name, phone number or email address, and the type of help you need. Those who offer help go through a similar process, but instead share what they can do.
Things to note: The website does not oblige you to leave your details, whether you are someone in need or offering help. This means you may be able to locate food banks or those in need on the map, but if they didn't leave a number or email it would still be extremely difficult to contact them in the first place.
However, it appears that the information of many, if not all, of the listed food banks has been taken from other websites such as Sambal SOS or Kita Jaga Malaysia. foodbank-MY summarizes this information in one card and may give users more options as one grocery bank may be listed on one website but not on the other.
The site is available in English and BM.
Use this when: You need a starting point to find blackboards, but know that you will most likely need to go to the other sites for more information (links to those can be found on the map of each blackboard on foodbank-MY).
3. Kita Jaga Malaysia
When Terato Tech, an app development company in Bangi, saw the benefits of digitizing the White Flag movement, he founded Kita Jaga Malaysia to help the public. Some of the team's notable products previously included CIMB Clicks, Malaysia Airlines Going Places, Axiata Cup, and more.
How it works: Using the Google Maps application programming interface (API), the website displays red and blue pins that represent white flags or panels in an area.
Getting or offering help is straightforward with no registration required. Just include your name, phone number (optional for those who offer help) and what kind of help you need / can offer.
Terato Tech has kept updating the user interface, and one of the biggest perks right now is that instead of a phone number to copy and paste, it provides a direct call and WhatsApp button to reach the beneficiaries.
- The homepage / picture credits: Kita Jaga Malaysia
- The convenient call and WhatsApp buttons / Photo credits: Kita Jaga Malaysia
The team is also working with GoGet to offer a "Hantar Barang" option for contactless delivery between vendors and those in need. Note that this service is not free and that the providers have to pay for it.
Things to note: Kita Jaga Malaysia is currently available as an app on iOS devices, with the team indicating that an Android version is being developed.
In their efforts to minimize fraud, the website / app also warns helpers if a red pin (white flag) they clicked has used the same phone number multiple times in the past to ask for help. The page is only available in BM.
Use this when: You want to be easily available when you call for help or have an easy way to provide help. Terato Tech is still improving the site over time based on user feedback, making it one of the most active sites for the White Flag movement right now.
Honorable Mention: One site that performs very similar functions is KitaBoleh !, with one of the main differences being that it is available in English, BM, and Mandarin, which makes it more accessible to the public. Another difference is that the KitaBoleh! their needs are neatly categorized so that the helpers can see at a glance what they need.
Ma-Kasih is a project founded by Shern Low and developed by a team of 11 Malaysians currently living around the world in areas like London, New York, Sydney etc. These include PhD students and professionals who want to do something to help other Malaysians.
How it works: Ma-Kasih connects aid providers with those in need, similar to the sites mentioned above. But unlike the other two, it doesn't show the locations of boards across Malaysia.
Those requesting help from Ma-Kasih are required to provide their address, number of beneficiaries, phone number, assistance they need, and a 4-digit PIN number that is required to be able to change their requests later. You can tick the options for halal or vegetarian diets if you fall under any of the dietary restrictions.
- The homepage / picture credits: Ma-Kasih
- You can see the number of beneficiaries in a household and their dietary preferences / Image source: Ma-Kasih
- The pink button leads you to foodpanda / Photo credit: Ma-Kasih
If you offer help, you can click on the "wave" emoji representing a household in need and contact the number provided directly or drop off some care packages at the address. Ma-Kasih has provided a helpful button with which you can buy meals or groceries on foodpanda and send them directly to the address.
Things to note: Ma-Kasih has a separate button that you can use to ask for help on someone else's behalf. However, to access it from the home page, click “I want to help” instead of clicking “I need help”.
This will take you to the full map and you will see a blue “Report for Others” button. To help on someone's behalf, you need to know their general address, and you can provide your phone number if you don't know theirs. Volunteers can then contact you for more information on how to reach the beneficiary.
The website is available in English, BM and Mandarin.
Use this when: They fear that your request for help will go unnoticed on the saturated websites like Kita Jaga Malaysia or when you want to send hot meals or small groceries to those in need with just a few clicks.
5. Sambal SOS
Formerly known as the Bendera Putih App, it was renamed Sambal SOS to expand its purpose beyond movement. It was created within 4 days by Malaysian volunteer students with software development experience.
The homepage / picture credits: Sambal SOS
How it works: You can filter grocery bank or SOS symbols on the map to reduce the clutter when you visit the site for a specific purpose.
Those requesting help ("Report SOS") should upload a picture of the front of their house or a WhatsApp conversation (if asking for help on someone else's behalf), provide an address, comments on the information required, and a phone number .
The food banks listed are crowdsourced, so they are pretty bare and available with no immediate contact number.
If you want to help, you should contact the SOS locations directly, as there is no way to create a pin presenting your location as a helper. If you are a grocery bank, please fill out this form to let the team know and be added to the card.
Things to note: Every SOS report is checked for authenticity by a person and either approved or rejected within 24 hours. To avoid scammers, Sambal SOS also requires you to sign in with either a Google account or your Facebook.
If you have problems accessing the site after logging in, we recommend clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page. The website is available in English, BM and Mandarin.
Use this when: You want to call for help or offer help directly to those in need, knowing that every request is personally reviewed by the team to reduce fraud.
Waymaker is not a website created for the White Flag movement, but it has grown in popularity since then. It went live for the first time on February 14, 2021, after founder and CEO Arun Kumar had recognized that a lot of help is usually provided at the organizational level, which is aimed at the general masses.
However, this meant that the wishes of certain people with special needs still remained unfulfilled. So Waymaker was created as a solution to fill this gap.
- This is what a request on Waymaker looks like on the homepage / Photo credits: Waymaker
- Arun (bottom right) and the rest of the Waymaker team / Photo credit: Waymaker
How it works: Instead of using a map function, Waymaker took the more personal route by presenting lists of requests. This way, users can instantly see who is posting the request, what they need, for whom and where they are, instead of being overwhelmed by tons of icons on a map.
Users wishing to request or offer help must create an account on the site where they provide standard profile information, including gender, spoken language, ethnicity, and religion.
This specificity is needed because Waymaker allows requesters to select certain demographics that their requests can see. For example, you can choose whether you want help with gender, culture, language or age group-specific needs.
Those who can see these requests can then respond to offer help, and requesters can choose who to contact. Once this is done, the responder can contact the requester. This avoids potential conflict or simply spreading your information.
Things to note: Since requests are managed in a certain way on Waymaker, it is likely that the overall process for providing and finding help will be much slower than on the other sites. However, if your requests are not very urgent, Waymaker's method will help ensure that your needs are better met.
If you come across a request that you think is inappropriate or suspicious, you can report it to the team for review. This page is available in English.
Use this when: Need help but don't want your information and request to be overpublished and if you prefer to have tailored responses that can properly meet your needs.
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On that list is a mix of extremely active sites like Kita Jaga Malaysia and Sambal SOS, as well as sites with fewer listings (with white flags or food banks) like Ma-Kasih and Waymaker.
Regardless, each website has its own purpose and style, so you can choose a website that better suits your needs, whether you are requesting or offering help.
When Malaysians band together to help each other, we shouldn't abuse the trust of those who offer help by being too greedy and taking more than they need. In doing so, you jeopardize the opportunities for others in need to receive help and discourage good-hearted people from continuing to offer help.
At the same time, if you are someone offering assistance, please adhere to the government SOPs and ensure that you have the appropriate permissions to operate a board or something similar.
Since those in need and those providing aid provide their personal contacts and locations in good faith that they will be used as intended, we should not misuse the information for malicious purposes.
- You can read more articles on charity here.
Image source of the post: Ma-Kasih / Kita Jaga Malaysia