An Islamic social finance fintech platform has pledged to raise US$600,000 over a three-year period to support the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in aiding and empowering refugees in Malaysia.
The funds will be mobilized to support programs in health, education and gender-based violence for some 178,000 UNHCR-registered refugees in Malaysia, about 45% of whom are women and children.
This strategic partnership between Tulus Digital and UNHCR comes at a time when the refugee population, including those in Malaysia, is disproportionately adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Already without proper legal protection in Malaysia as the local law does not recognize refugees or asylum seekers who are instead treated as illegal immigrants, forcibly displaced people are even more vulnerable to economic pressures and are struggling to access adequate healthcare and maintain social well-being. Despite so, Malaysia has become a final destination for some refugees — particularly the Rohingyas — instead of a transit state.
“One of the greatest tools to solve inequalities amid a COVID-19 pandemic is fintech. Fintech connects users in such a way so that transactions are transparent, easy to perform and allows donors to connect more closely to causes they can relate to,” commented Dr Mohd Daud Bakar, the chairman of Tulus Digital, adding: “Philanthropy has no religion, has no home address, [and] is no flagship of any country. It is about humanity. And for that, we are motivated to use our digital platform to serve these communities better.” Dr Mohd Daud Bakar is also the chairman of Amanie Group and the Shariah Advisory Councils of Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission Malaysia.
Tulus Digital is a mobile platform providing digital payment solutions for Islamic-based services and payment facilitation such as Zakat, Waqf, Infaq and Sadaqah.
Multilateral organizations as well as government bodies are increasingly turning to digitally-driven Islamic social finance instruments and platforms to address social development challenges, particularly during the pandemic. Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation for example, partnered with charity crowdfunding platform GlobalSadaqah last year to launch a national campaign to raise funds to support healthcare workers. “Onboarding Tulus as the first UNHCR Islamic fintech partner is a major milestone in connecting Islamic finance to reducing inequalities and poverty among the refugee population in Malaysia,” said UNHCR Representative Thomas Albrecht.