It’s that time of the year…

Urban poverty is a massive problem in Malaysia. While very few live below the country’s absolute poverty line (RM700 per household per month), many in urban areas – where the cost of living is significantly higher – are living in relative poverty.

An incredible three out of ten people in Selangor are below the state’s recently revised poverty line of RM1,500. UNICEF said the line should have been RM1,800, based on the cost of living.

These urban poor families are surrounded by rapid urban growth, but they are also victims of it. They struggle just to put food on the table for their children, who often get sucked into the same cycle of poverty.

This holiday season, we thought we’d do something for these families. We pooled some money, got a few friends from the music scene together, and set out to surprise a few families by making their very simple holiday wishes come true. We hope it made their Christmas, as it did ours.

Christmastime in the City

Scroll down to read the incredible stories of the urban poor families we visited.


By Russell Curtis

Singer-songwriter Russell Curtis was so shaken by his visit to an urban poor family, he decided to help the best way he knows how – by writing a song.

Even though it was the busy Christmas period, he managed to bring together a group of top musicians to record this song, all in 48 hours.

Hear the songs, listen to their stories.

Mariyammah, loving mother and sole breadwinner for a family of nine wants nothing more than for her children to be happy.

Read more

Shanti and her five children stay cheerful and positive despite struggling to have two square meals a day.

Read more

Shabaz and his family recall fond memories of carollers and warm food shared with neighbours during Christmas.

Read more

Siti Robiah and her husband suffer from medical conditions and take care of their seven grandchildren and their youngest son, struggling to make ends meet.

Read more

How you can help

Instead of splurging on a hearty meal or two cups of premium coffee, why not donate the money? We’re thinking RM20!

This amount can make a huge difference for someone living in urban poverty. It can be used to provide a week’s worth of meal for a child, or to hire education coaches for disabled young adults.

Here’s how you can donate through Malaysian Care’s RM20 Challenge:

Record a video

Record a short video on what RM20 means to you. Don’t forget to show the RM20 in the video.

Nominate 5 friends

In your video nominate 5 people to take up the challenge and tag them in your post.

Spread the word

Post your video on social media and tag R.AGE


Donate RM20 (or more) and help the urban poor

R.AGE takes on the RM20 Challenge!

The making of…

Behind-the-scenes with the R.AGE team and our guest carollers.

A preview of the song "Remember", penned by Russell Curtis. He wrote the song as an inspiration after visiting an urban...

Posted by R.AGE on Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Russell Curtis was so affected by his visit to an urban poor family that he decided to write a song about it. He pulled...

Posted by R.AGE on Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Choir group Voice of Hope want to serenade you with an important message. We're continuing our #ChristmasTimeInTheCity...

Posted by R.AGE on Friday, 18 December 2015

Something's going down tonight.Jumero is teaming up with R.AGE to visit families living in deep urban poverty, and to spread some Christmas cheer to those living unseen and impoverished amongst us.

Posted by R.AGE on Monday, 14 December 2015

The carollers sharing a few words before the big performance. Will the kids enjoy the surprise? We hope so! #ChristmasTimeInTheCity

Posted by R.AGE on Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Our partners in Christmas

Find out more about the wonderful organisations that helped us produce our Christmas video series.

Malaysian Care

A non-profit Christian social work organisation which empowers the rural and urban poor through a range of community development programmes and services. It also works with people with learning difficulties, and those affected by prison, drugs and HIV/AIDS.

Address: 15, Jalan Tasik Selatan 3, Bandar Tasik Selatan, 57000 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel : +603-90582102 Fax : +603-90584057
Email :


A non-profit Christian organisation that delivers monthly groceries to 43 families, provides free tuition for underprivileged kids and helps homes for the needy with the help of NGOs and outside parties. Based in Kapar, they organized a Christmas carnival for families in Kapar this year.

To contribute, call Mageson Muniandy at 016-314 3916
Address: No. 67, Tingkat 1, Lintang Dato Tahir Satu, 42200 Kapar, Klang


A volunteer-run school for Pakistani asylum seekers’ children, operating in the Serdang area. The children of asylum seekers are unable to get formal education until their families gain refugee status. The school offers lessons on basic subjects such as science, maths and religious studies. The teachers are also asylum seekers who volunteer their time at the centre. The centre also provides free transport for its students.

To learn more about the school and how you can contribute, call Ghalib Paul at 018-974 8546


A Silambam martial arts club created for the underprivileged children living around the Razak Mansion flats. It was started by George Fernandez, a resident of the flats. The club also distributes provisions to 10 families in the area, organises free tuition classes and holds yearly Christmas parties where school uniforms are given to the kids.

To learn more about charitable work in Razak Mansion flats, call George Fernandez at 016-696 4516

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