It has been two and half months since Jadioc Barbershop last had a customer. It is one of the many local businesses that is affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the restricted movement measures it brought upon the country.
Similarly, Moh Foong misses the monthly social meetings where members of United Voice can meet and mingle together. The non-governmental organisation (NGO), where she serves as Lead Coordinator, is also experiencing financial difficulties caused by the pandemic.
Clearly, the virus spares nothing and no one.
With no confirmed date to start operations, the struggle is very real for barber shops like Jadioc
At the moment, all Jadioc’s staff can do is to engage with their customers via the business’ social media pages. They are also following the MKN’s updates closely, so they can quickly apply for permits – if required – to start work soon. In the meantime, the staff keep each other motivated by sharing encouraging messages among themselves.
People, especially the men, are yearning for a haircut as their hair has grown long and untidy. We are struggling to keep our business afloat during this period.Jadioc Barbershop
If you are interested to try out Jadioc Barbershop’s services, fade haircuts is one of their signatures, but their stylist will also recommend other latest hairstyles that suit your look. You can also support them by purchasing some of their in-house hair products, like their pomade and hair shampoos.
As donations dropped for United Voice, so did sales for their handmade products
Challenges are nothing new to the members of United Voice. The NGO was set up as a self-advocacy society to support Malaysians with learning disabilities. With support from their sponsors and peers, the members of United Voice have empowered themselves to become the first society to be fully run by persons with learning disabilities.
However, the financial as well as emotional constraint brought upon by the pandemic is one that none of them have experienced before.
United Voice has been relying on both donations and sales generated from their handmade products to run their NGO. As many Malaysians tightened their belts due to the Movement Control Order (MCO), the donations to the organisation took a dip. Not only that, sales for their usually popular baked goods and handmade crafts are also not doing well.
Aside from that, Moh Foong mentioned that her members are eager to resume workshops and social meetings like before. These activities are best done in person as they are meant to help people with learning difficulties improve their social skills and employability; as well as functioning as support groups. Fortunately, her team managed to organise online social meetings for their members to continue staying connected and getting support.
The Coordinator also worries about how the rising unemployment rate will affect her members. People with learning disabilities are rarely perceived as choice candidates by employers due to the social stigma attached to their conditions.
Some think that they are lazy, but this is not true. Our members are very eager to work and join the workforce.United Voice Lead Coordinator, Moh Foong
She hopes that more people can support their NGO by donating, purchasing their handmade crafts and baked goods, provide employment or internship opportunities to the members, or simply spread the word about what their cause is about.
We can help these local businesses by spending with them
As illustrated in the cases of Jadioc Barbershop and United Voice, local businesses are suffering due to the pandemic. Though some are allowed to operate – like in the case of United Voice – they are faced with lower volume of sales and donations.
The most obvious way to help local businesses – aside from increased government aid – is for us to spend more with local businesses. An increase in consumer spending within the local economy can help us maintain the employment rate. This then translates to more people being able to spend on necessities or contribute to causes they support.
In the case of Jadioc Barbershop and United Voice, we can support their organisations by purchasing cash vouchers to spend on their products, or to be used on their services when they are allowed to resume operations. The cash vouchers can be purchased at a discounted rate via GrabPay, which both Jadioc and United Voice are partnering with to weather through these tough times.
Jadioc Barbershop: Purchase a RM30 cash voucher at just RM25 here (link only visible on mobile).
This will ease their burden for when they reopen their premises, as some financial resources would be channeled to incorporating safety SOPs. These include having hand sanitisers available for staff and visitors, sufficient face masks in stock for employees, and proper thermometers for temperature-taking. Jadioc will also be providing disposable cutting capes for their customers when they are allowed to resume operations.
As we wait for the ‘new economic normal’ to fully sink in, we need to support our fellow Malaysians in any way we can. Even if we cannot afford to spend with local businesses or donate to causes that we are passionate about; we can also help raise awareness by tagging them on social media and recommending them to our friends.
I have an unhealthy obsession with chocolate, gummy candy, and "Confucius says" jokes.