‘Hijrah warrior’ urban farm, new chapter for the homeless

KUALA LUMPUR: Having lost his sense of purpose, Mus (not his real name) who was rendered homeless when he came to the capital to seek employment, now has a new spirit and determination to become a successful farmer one day.

This is a result of new know-how he gained via the ‘Hijrah Warrior’ urban farm project at the Anjung Kelana Transformation Centre here since early last month which piqued his interest in planting vegetables such as cucumber, maize and ‘sawi’ (mustard greens), thus injecting a spirit to succeed like everyone else.

“I have never held a hoe back in my kampung. Everything was taught here from A to Z. It’s fun and I get excited when I see the farm, I laboured on bearing fruit. I hope I will continue to be given the opportunity to farm like now,” he told Bernama.

Mus was among 70 homeless people in the urban farming programme, a brainchild of the Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa, who was guided to venture into urban farming as an initiative to change their lifestyle and steer them away from their predicaments.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) (Socio-Economic Development) executive director, Anwar Mohd Zain said the centre, built at the former Desa Water Park site, aimed at providing skills and open up job opportunities related to farming and agriculture to the group.

After a month at the Anjung Kelana Transformation Centre, Anwar said some individuals in the group had indicated a change in attitude by showing interest in working on the 82,000 square feet farm.

Equipped with the training and motivation given at the centre, he hoped the group would improve themselves and secure employment in the farming and plantation sector at various locations outside Kuala Lumpur.

Anwar said DBKL was also planning to create sales activities at the Anjung Kelana Transformation Centre to market the produce from the farms which utilised idle land around the transit centre and under the nearby electrical substations.

Meanwhile, the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Association for the Homeless and Needy (KASGE) chairman Rashdan Rashid said participants who showed interest would be recruited to work on bigger farms, agricultural projects or plantations after three months of exposure and training.

“We want to transform the homeless group into agropreneurs on land belonging to non-governmental organisations such as in Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan and other locations,” said Rashdan, who headed the teaching line-up at the urban farm.

Rashdan said the association also collaborated with the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) in increasing crop yields and providing basic business training.

There are 1,000 homeless people around the city who were rescued by DBKL since the implementation of the movement control order on March 18 last year to curb the spread of Covid-19. – Bernama