Stories of the poor


Many people do not accept refugees because of the lack of understanding. Refugees do not choose to migrate, in fact many struggle to leave their homes behind. The crisis in Myanmar is linked with the mass persecution of the Rohingya population in the country, many were forced to flee as the military led violent attacks against their communities.

– Sulaiman’s story

1. See

Observe the facts, know the reality.

2. Judge

Use social analysis and moral values to make judgement about the facts.

3. Act

Plan a realistic and effective strategy to action.

1st Step:


Misconceptions and myths regarding Refugees

In our country, we will find many refugees here in our local communities, who fled in terror from genocides, war, civil unrest and other forms of conflict in their home countries.

My name is Sulaiman. My family and I lived in terror in my country as they were shooting and killing our people day and night. Source from the official report, until 2018 more than 25000 Rohingya have been killed due to religious persecution and genocide, ten of thousands of women were raped and more than 700000 have fled abroad. We made the decision to flee despite the long and perilous journey by boat.

In 2013 after nightfall, hundreds of us were crammed into boats without food or water, with the desperate hope of landing safely. Many did not survive the voyage and worse still, many fell into the hands of human traffickers. But it was a risk we had to take to survive, and at least to give my children a hope to live. May God be praised that we safely made it to Malaysia.

Life is extremely hard as an asylum seeker. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) grants asylum seekers an identity card, which protects and enables refugees with a level of protection which may reduce the risk of arrest, prevents deportation to their country of origin where their freedom or lives may be at risk, and allows limited access to health services, education and other essential support services from UNHCR, its partner organizations or other parties. The wait to receive this card, however, is very long. I received my UNHCR card in 2018, which enabled me to work with an NGO as a teacher for refugee children. I teach English and other subjects to the refugee children, as I strongly believe that Education is the way out of poverty, to give these children the hope of a better life.

Schools for refugee children are not part of the national school system, and therefore do not receive the same syllabus and resources. It is our hope that people will come forward to volunteer as teachers to teach our children English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mathematics, Science, Arts, Computers, etc. Most of our children like to draw.

Because of political conflicts, Rohingya were forced to leave their own country. Now repatriation to the country of origin is not possible, resettlement to other countries is slim so local integration is the only option for Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, and Malaysians can play a big role to make it possible. Remember Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Yahweh protects the stranger, he sustains the orphan and the widow. Yahweh loves the upright, but he frustrates the wicked.

2nd Step:


3rd Step:



Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy. 


O Divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal life.


Make us worthy Lord, to serve those people throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread, and by our understanding love, give them peace and joy.

I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve Him among the poorest of the poor. It was an order.

When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.

You and I, we are Church, no? We have to share with our people. Suffering today is  because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing. 

Jesus made it very clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me. Give a glass of water, you give it to me. Receive a little child, you receive me. 

Lord, may justice flow like a river

Reaching barren lands and sun scorched deserts

Where people feel forgotten and hopeless

Let your water of life

Comfort them

Where children lie abandoned or abused

Let your water of life

Protect them

Where communities suffer at the hands of prejudice

Let your water of life Shield them

Lord, we ask for a mighty downpour from Heaven

May your sons and daughters hear your voice

May we live as you lead us to live

Go as you bid us to go

Serve as you inspire us to serve

Give as you teach us to give

Until the earth is covered with the glory of God

As the waters cover the sea


Dear Father of all, Help us to see the world through your eyes, without dividing lines, To see just land and water, mountains, trees and skies. Help us to lay aside our class and skin, our background and race, To know our shared humanity, to see a brother or sister in every face. Help us to wear forgiveness, to lay down our pride and pain, To seek first to understand, Lord may peace and reconciliation reign. Help us to feel your compassion so we can freely forgive. May we weave new threads of grace and cause seeds of hope to live. Help us to play our own small part, with acts of kindness and of care. May we arise as your children and seek out what is just and fair. Cause us to make new bonds of trust with neighbours near and far, And so to fashion a world where peace comes to Earth in this hour.

Merciful God, we pray to you for all the men, women and children who have died after leaving their homelands in search of a better life. Though many of their graves bear no name, to you each one is known, loved and cherished.

May we never forget them, but honour their sacrifice with deeds more than words. We entrust to you all those who have made this journey, enduring fear, uncertainty and humiliation, in order to reach a place of safety and hope.

Just as you never abandoned your Son as he was brought to a safe place by Mary and Joseph, so now be close to these, your sons and daughters, through our tenderness and protection. In caring for them may we seek a world where none are forced to leave their home and where all can live in freedom, dignity and peace.

Merciful God and Father of all, wake us from the slumber of indifference, open our eyes to their suffering, and free us from the insensitivity born of worldly comfort and self-centeredness.
Inspire us, as nations, communities and individuals, to see that those who come to our shores are our brothers and sisters.

May we share with them the blessings we have received from your hand, and recognize that together, as one human family, we are all migrants, journeying in hope to you, our true home, where every tear will be wiped away, where we will be at peace and safe in your embrace.

Give Alms

  1. Find out where the refugee schools are near your parish, identify their needs and build bridges with them.
  2. Many refugee schools need volunteer teachers and some lack academic materials, find out their needs and discuss with your parish priest how to help them.
  3. Many people spread hate messages and are not willing to welcome refugees due to a lack of understanding. Try to understand their problems and have your parish priest give a special homily on this issue.
  4. Contact Caritas Penang, if they need medical assistance.


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Caritas is the charitable arm of the Roman Catholic Church. It is to spearhead the church’s social mission, to respond to humanitarian crisis, promote integral human development and advocate on the causes of poverty and violence.

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