History of FoM Charitable GIVING

FoM Contributions to Charitable Organizations in Malaysia

The origins of the Friends of Malaysia mission to pool our ideas and resources of RPCVs for charitable projects in Malaysia goes back at least to the late 1990s. In the Winter 1998 issue of Apa Khabar, President Sherry Zembower wrote:

To create a successful organization that can be an advocate for both the Peace Corps and Malaysia, your new Board of Directors needs your ideas, suggestions, and active participation. We would like to support a project in Malaysia. If you have contacts in Malaysia or know of a project, please develop a proposal including what, where, when, Malaysian sponsor, and cost and submit it…

In the Fall 2001 issue of Apa Khabar, President Margie Hazelton reinforced this vision:

We want to keep Friends of Malaysia involved in current events and not just continue to relive past experiences. We can do that with your continued input and support. We are a viable group with the continued financial and network resources to keep FoM being such a group, but we do need to have your ideas and support to keep this group strong.

Friends of Malaysia received the NPCA Loret Miller Ruppe Award for its support of the Penan people in Sarawak, including a contribution of $5,000 to the Borneo Project.

Though the indigenous peoples of the Malaysian rainforest have legal protection, there is still pressure to have them removed from their lands and to have their land exploited for its natural resources. The Borneo Project helps the indigenous people to use the resources and to develop their communities in a sustainable manner. It also sponsors legal literacy campaigns to make villages aware of their legal rights and acts as a human rights watchdog by monitoring illegal and inhumane actions taken by the government or logging company officials. FOM has sold crafts made by a women’s cooperative in Borneo, sponsored the attendance of a speaker from the Borneo Project at the NPCA National Conference and raised over $5000 to sponsor a micro hydro plant. FOM’s support of this project has helped to foster group cohesiveness and has given members a positive use for their language and professional skills. 

Paul Murphy, who has been FoM Treasurer since 2006, estimates that FoM has contributed $23,318 to Malaysian charities and NGOs since 2001. Most contributions are in the range of $500 to $1,000. The significance and impact of FoM contributions were frequent features of articles in Apa Khabar. Based on records from all sources (newsletters, old FoM websites, Treasurer’s reports to the Board), here is a partial list of FoM charitable donations.