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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Thursday, 08 March 2007 16:17

KL Volunteer Care Service for Selayang Religious School Children

Written by  by Nai Keng Hak and Low Siew Lian, Kuala Lumpur / Translated by Chiang Sook Chen

【Caring Case/Kuala Lumpur.Ramah Bi】

With deep worries for her livelihood, Ramah Bi looked blankly out of the windows. 【Photograph by Sam Pin Fook】

Due to hardships, lack of sleep and nutrition, strenuous work and living in unhygienic surroundings, Ramah Bi's health was at risk.

After examining her, Dr Cai prescribed pain-killers for her joint pains; and vitamin pills as supplements. She has now to ensure that she gets sufficient sleep to restore her health.

When the Taiwan Great Love TV team came to film a documentary on the life of the refugee children at the Selayang Burmese Religious School on 6 March 2007, the volunteers from Kuala Lumpur Tzu Chi noticed that some of the children were having a bad cough. This led Dr Cai Qing Fu, a Paediatrician, to visit the school and provide medical treatment to these children during his off hours in the afternoons.  

On these visits, the volunteers also discovered that the mother of one girl named Raina, was bedridden. They then made a visit to her quarters at the second floor of a shophouse.

Adverse circumstances in life

The second floor of the shophouse is divided into seven partitions by its owner and rented out to seven Burmese families. They have to share a common kitchen and bathroom; and the rent per month is RM 200 per family.

In this very tiny and congested room, Raina lives with her mother and sister, and all they have are a rice pot, some rations and clothing, plus a few pillows and a thin blanket, all of which are neatly arranged. Raina's mother, Ramah Bi, has swollen feet due to malnutrition and dark eye bags due to lack of sleep. Ramah Bi gets up at 1 am daily to pick up the discarded vegetables at the wholesale market. After these are resorted, she would sell them at another market, earning her an income of RM10 to RM15 per day.

Five years ago, Ramah Bi's husband passed away in Thailand, and due to the poverty in the Burmese home village, she came alone to work in Malaysia. After working for two years, and having accumulated a total of RM400, she sought the help of a friend to bring her two younger daughters over to join her in Malaysia, leaving behind her eldest daughter in Burma. Since then, the two girls have been studying at the Madrasha Religious School. In the last one year, however, Ramah Bi has been suffering from constant body aches and physical weaknesses. As a result, and in order to give her mother the constant care she needed, the elder of the two girls, Sotrua, gave up schooling. In addition, Ramah Bi has to divide her single meal into two for her daily consumption. She works from 1 am to 11 am daily and go to bed at 1 pm. With such hardships, and due to the lack of sleep, strenuous work, lack of nutrition and living in unhygienic surroundings, her health was at risk. Dr Cai examined Ramah Bi and commented that the pain-killers he prescribed may reduce her joint pains; and the vitamin pills may provide her body with some nutrition. The rest is up to her to ensure that she gets sufficient sleep to restore her health.

Timely help

On 8 March, Li Feng Yue and Xian Mei Lan, volunteers from KL Tzu Chi, made a second visit to Rahma Bi. Having discovered that the rice in her container was only sufficient for one meal, they gladly offered her the RM300 they brought along. Another follow-up visit was made two days later, and a neighbor who knew some Malay language, helped with the interpretation.

The RM300 seemed to be god-send to a surprised Rahma Bi. She nodded as the volunteers expressed their concern and care for her. Smiles replaced her original bitter expression and she gradually focused her wavering eyesight on the volunteers. Her words of thankfulness and gratitude showed that she has started to feel relieved of her adversity; while the volunteers were equally relieved at her response.

 

With her problems temporarily solved, Ramah Bi expresses her thankfulness. Very limited space and unhygienic surroundings are the main causes of Ramah Bi's bad health.

With her problems temporarily solved, Ramah Bi expresses her thankfulness.

Very limited space and unhygienic surroundings are the main causes of Ramah Bi's bad health.
Ramah Bi who responds to the concern and care of Tzu Chi volunteers looks at them with gratitude.

Ramah Bi who responds to the concern and care of Tzu Chi volunteers looks at them with gratitude.

 

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