From volunteer to AIDS Foundation executive director
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 ― The past few years have been life-changing for Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) executive director Jasmin Jalil.
From being a volunteer with MAF close to a decade ago, the former corporate man now heads the fundraising arm of the organisation that fights to end AIDS along with the stigma and discrimination that goes along with the disease.
The media-shy Jasmin much prefers to stay out of the limelight and goes about making sure that enough funds flow in on a yearly basis for the work that the foundation and Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) has to do.
“I started volunteering with my best friend after he was diagnosed with HIV in 2005.
“After meeting with people like Andrew Tan from KLASS (Kuala Lumpur AIDS Support Services Society), I felt empowered to help out,” he said.
“It started with helping out by assisting the media department for the Red Ribbon Gala in 2008.”
This year, the gala is back and has been renamed the Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Award Gala Dinner that will take place on December 16.
From this event, Jasmin was offered to do more work by then MAC executive director and now president, Bakhtiar Talhah.
“I wasn’t sure whether I could do it in the first place. He said, ‘Why not join MAC? So, I did.”
He became advocacy and communication director at MAC for six years and has been executive director of MAF for the past four years.
During his time at MAC, Jasmin helped in getting many programmes out, including working with the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to have forums on HIV/AIDS.
“The work we did with Jakim is important. We need to change the mindsight of people and help those living with HIV.”
Once at MAF, he undertook fundraising and corporate social responsibilities activities with corporations such as Yayasan Sime Darby, Berjaya Group, GSK Malaysia, Petronas and Hilton Malaysia.
Among MAF’s other fundraising efforts are the Hot and Cold Charity Run, and ArtAid.
Currently, in conjunction with World AIDS Day, MAF is having their year end sale at a pop-up store in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur on the fifth floor.
Sale of official merchandise such as t-shirts, tote bags and lapel pins will be held until December 15.
Proceeds from the sale will fund treatment, care and support programme for people living with HIV, especially women and children.
“We also have the Red Ribbon Celebrity Supporters that help us in advocacy work by using various channels like their social media accounts to reach out in creative ways.”
Currently, MAF is looking to sustaina projects besides supporting the Malaysian Business Consortium on HIV/AIDS that is looking to change workplace policy regarding the disease.
“Workers need to be protected to ensure that they do not lose their jobs.”
The public, he emphasised, need to understand issues surrounding HIV, including implementation of harm reduction and ensuring those who needed treatment has access to it.
“This is all about public health.”
Asked how his family took to him being involved in the job, he said they were happy for him.
“I have a passion to help people and I won’t stop because there is so much to do.
“I love my job so much because it gives me the freedom to help people.”
Malay Mail is the media partner for the event.