Reaching Out To The Community
There was a turnout of 150 people – most were the carefully selected under-privileged families live in poverty have no access to safe water, have no access to health services, but a fair number had heard of the donation and turned up in the hope that they too, may benefit.
Nagappan and his band of volunteers did a wonderful job of selecting them, ferrying them to the little hall we used and arranging to take them home after the event.
First, lunch was provided. Velu had organized this. As one lady said to us, she had never eaten such food in years. It was rice with chicken and mutton curry, together with vegetables. RM6 per food pack.
Then came the food donation.
Each food parcel cost RM80 and contained:
Word had spread and many others turned up. This was anticipated and surplus food was distributed amongst them. One of the volunteers also bought sarees to give out.
This time, we had decided to use a local kedai runcit instead of one of the hypermarkets. Anitha’s prices were only at a slight premium but we were supporting a local trader and we saved on transportation.
The owner of Anitha’s (wearing a white shirt with blue borders, standing between Nagappan and Ellamaran (hidden) and myself) turned up for this function but as he was fasting, could not join us for the lunch.
Some photos from the event (Ellamaran was helping me give out the food while Ravi was busy snapping away – thanks so much, Ravi!):
Leela Subramaniam (49), used to be an estate worker but since the estate has been sold to a property developer, she is no longer required. Her husband has had his leg amputated and is also jobless. They have 5 children but the 3 married ones are struggling to look after their own family. The youngest is studying and the unmarried daughter working in a factory tried to send home RM50-100 a month.
Kaliamah (80), is living alone. She has lost touch with her children. She suffers from Parkinson’s disease and with the constant acute tremors, is unable to safely cook for herself. She has no source of income and is solely reliant on her neighbours to feed her. One young boy in particular, will walk from across the village to give her food. If there is on food from her neighbours, she tries to make do with bread and pickles (achar).
Nagasamy Vallasamy (41), works in a factory and does odd jobs to support her husband and 4 children. Her husband is due for an eye operation at KLH, which Welfare Department has said they will bear, but apparently, KLH refuses to proceed. She badly needs help with schooling her children, one of which in particular (Dinesh), has been doing well, scoring 4As and 1B.
Ellamaran interview: Nagasamy Vallasamy and Kamala Muni
Amsah Arunasalam (79), has 4 children and lives with her 47 year old jobless son and his 2 schooling children.
Kamala Muni (54), has been at home for 12 years without work. She is supported by her only son who does odd jobs.
Muniamah Gopal (74), is a widower with four sons, all of whom are married. She is entirely dependent on her neighbours for food.
Kanuamah Gopal (50), is a widower who can barely subsist on the welfare fund’s contribution of RM50 a month.
Thanapaikiam Manikam (55), does not have a home. She and her mentally disabled husband live with their neighbour. Her only son is studying.