SANDAKAN: A group of youngsters have started a weekly initiative of feeding the homeless here, as well as giving them free haircuts and manicures.
The group started the charitable work since four years ago, touching the lives of up to 55 homeless people around the district.
The homeless in Sandakan can be seen sleeping at the bus stands, huts in parks or sidewalks around the city centre, Letat town and several other locations.
There are normally up to 15 people in the voluntary group, aged in their 20s and 30s, moving together during the rounds.
They are doing this on their own initiative to help the homeless, without depending on any non-governmental organisation’s (NGO) support.
One of the volunteer Yunizam Yusof, 29, said initially they started cooking together every Friday or Saturday to prepare food for the homeless.
"At first we just wanted to help out where we can.
“But soon there are individuals who came forward to give food and drinks donation, even money for us to enable ordering food from restaurants to distribute to those at the streets,” he said when met here.
Yunizam said at the city are alone, there are 45 homeless individuals, aged between 11 to 84 years old.
Besides food, the group also provided supplies like toothpaste and toothbrush, clothing and health maintenance items.
Yunizam said so far, they have also assisted four former homeless folks to find jobs, where two are now working in hotels and another two given business capital to start small businesses at the market at Batu 2 here.