Citizens Journal
Wed Mar 13 2024

Dapur Jalanan: A lifeline for Kuala Lumpur’s urban poor

Poverty Alleviation
This article features :

Originally published on Citizen’s Journal Published: March 7, 2024

Dapur Jalanan, a volunteer-run organization, provides meals and raises awareness for Kuala Lumpur’s underprivileged communities.


Every Sunday, a scene unfolds on Jalan Panggong in Kuala Lumpur, where Dapur Jalanan, a volunteer-run organisation, transforms the street into a haven for the city’s most vulnerable residents.

Since 2013, their unwavering commitment has been to offer solace and sustenance to the homeless and marginalized individuals, living by the powerful statement, “Food is the right of everyone.”

While a hot meal might seem ordinary to most, for those struggling on the streets, it represents a beacon of hope.

Dapur Jalanan: Addressing the needs of the urban poor


Dapur Jalanan’s impact extends far beyond simply addressing hunger. Quratulain Atiqah Norzahirul Anuar, a Dapur Jalanan coordinator since its inception, emphasises that they cater to a diverse group, not just the homeless.

“Many of them drop by to get food, and sometimes, when we have extra, they bring it back home,” she explains.

Dapur Jalanan serves a significant population of “urban poor,” individuals facing financial hardships despite having a roof over their head.


Quratulain, who also serves as an MBPJ councillor, highlights the widespread nature of this issue, stating, “There are urban poor in Petaling Jaya as well, their needs are similar.”

Many who seek Dapur Jalanan’s support come for a simple reason: to replace the cost of a meal.

As Quratulain puts it, “They come here and eat so that it can replace the cost of a meal for that particular day.”

Community and compassion: Funding the initiative


Dapur Jalanan relies solely on public donations and the unwavering dedication of volunteers.

Every week, volunteers gather ingredients, cook meals in Bangsar Utama, and travel to Jalan Panggong to set up and serve their community.

However, rising food costs pose a challenge. Farhan Azahan, a volunteer managing Dapur Jalanan’s finances, acknowledges the increasing demand.

“We usually cook for 120 people, but recently, the number has risen to 150,” he explains, attributing this partly to families bringing their children.


To meet this growing need, Dapur Jalanan spends roughly RM600-700 weekly on groceries.

Farhan emphasises the importance of public support, stating, “With initiatives like Sokong, it’s easier for people to donate. It takes just two clicks, and Sokong truly helps.”

Beyond providing meals, Dapur Jalanan aims to raise awareness about the urban poor. “The food served is just a medium to reach the people,” Farhan says.

“The most important thing is that the awareness that these people (urban poor) are here.”


Dapur Jalanan’s commitment extends to providing clothing, offering essential items alongside meals. They also welcome volunteers to assist with various tasks, from meal preparation and distribution to dishwashing.

The unwavering dedication to addressing hunger, raising awareness, and fostering community support paves the way for a brighter future for Kuala Lumpur’s most vulnerable residents.

Through their relentless efforts, Dapur Jalanan not only provides a plate of hope but also ignites a spark of compassion within the hearts of the community.

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by malaysiakini

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