Wednesday, Aug 23rd

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Thursday, 01 July 2010 10:27

Emergency Relief for Family of Shalini

Written by  By Gan Chian Nee, Kuala Lumpur / Translated by Wong Mun Heng

Mo Ze Wen guiding Malini with the operation of the computer.【Photograph by Gan Chian Nee】

Since June, Tzu Chi volunteers from Kuala Lumpur started visiting homes of applicants for 2010 Study Grant Scheme. In the process, they learnt about Shalini's family to whom they provided emergency relief, a used computer and settled their outstanding school fees.


"We would have coffee and bread before going to bed so we don't feel hungry," said Kelaramary, mother of Shalini. She added that the family had to survive only on coffee and bread for several months as they were too shameful to seek help from friends and relatives.

Kelaramary and husband, Shammmugan, have to be thrifty in order to provide their three daughters with education. Unfortunately, Kelaramary is suffering from gastric ulcer and Shammugan has a heart condition, high blood pressure and diabetes, all of which require long-term medication. Despite his condition, Shammugan has to do all sorts of odd jobs earning only RM30-40 per day.

Reaching deep into the community

Since June, Tzu Chi volunteers from Kuala Lumpur started visiting homes of applicants for the 2010 Study Grant Scheme. When the Selayang volunteers visited flats at Sungai Tua, they discovered the plight of Shalini, a Form Three student.

Shalini and family lived in a rented unit. It was furnished with furniture left behind by the previous tenant, and there was hardly anything inside the fridge except for some leftover bean sprouts. Breakfast for sisters, Shalini and Malini, consisted of a glass of water and some bread. Around lunch time, Kelaramary would prepare food, mostly curry and white rice, for lunch and dinner for four. To make matters worse, they were 6 months behind their house rental.

After the first visit, the volunteers returned on June 23 with emergency supplies for the family so that they did not go hungry. Volunteers will also continue to monitor their condition.

Study in peace

Kelaramary said, "Everyday I'm very scared. The children always tell me that the teacher is chasing them for their school fees." If the fees are not paid, the children may be forced to stop schooling. As they already had difficulties satisfying the basic need for food, the school fee was definitely not their first priority.

In school, the teachers have high regards for both Shalini and Malini. Teacher Cik Mazuani commented: "Malini has a good attendance in class, and is a very active and diligent girl. It would be a waste if she drops out. She is keen to study, and especially for this year as she will be sitting for the SPM examinations."
 
Tzu Chi volunteers also helped to settle Shalini and Malini's outstanding school fees. Volunteer Mo Ze Wen said: "We hope without the pressure of money, they can now concentrate on their studies! "

They are hardworking

Everyday, as soon as the alarm goes off at 4.30 am, Shalini and Malini will get up and revise their school work. The fact that their children are well-behaved has motivated Kelaramary and husband to strive even harder.

For the past ten years, Keralamary had accompanied her girls on the one-hour walk to school while it was still dark. It was only recently that they discovered a 30-minute shorter route by trespassing a housing area and through a small bridge. On arrival, Keralamary will wait till the girls have entered the school before she returns home.

During recess time, while other students have their meals or snacks, Malini and Shalini, who have no money for lunch, will go to the school library, or the security booth, to read and revise their school work. Occasionally the school teachers will buy them food, or bring them "nasi lemak" (steamed coconut rice).

Keralamary and husband know the importance of education and they hope their children can complete their secondary school education. Shalini and Malini understand their parents' expectation and they are studying very hard with the hope that they can break the poverty cycle eventually.

Both Shalini and Malini voiced their aspirations: "It is very tough for our parents. We must study hard so that we can get better jobs and income. Then, we can take care of our parents."

Give hope

They have heard from their friends in school about the computer and information technology. But, a sad Malini said,"For the last five years, I've been wanting to get a computer. My ambition is to be a computer engineer. But, without money, I know it's just a dream..."

Deeply touched by the girls' determination, Tzu Chi volunteers decided to help them realise their dreams. They managed to get them a second-hand computer and an almost new computer table. On July 1, the volunteers delivered the computer and table to an overjoyed Malini.

A happy Malini said, "I couldn't sleep last night thinking of the computer..." Everybody was happy too.

Malini was seen grinning from ear to ear as she tried out her 'new' computer. Every word she types is like a printing of her hopes for the future.

A volunteer respectfully handed over the supplies they had brought to Kelaramary.【Photograph by Tan Son Hong】   Volunteers came back a few days after their first visit to provide emergency supplies to the family of Shalini.【Photograph by Tan Son Hong】

A volunteer respectfully handed over the supplies they had brought to Kelaramary.【Photograph by Tan Son Hong】
 
Volunteers came back a few days after their first visit to provide emergency supplies to the family of Shalini.【Photograph by Tan Son Hong】
Tzu Chi volunteers went to the school to settle the long over due school fees for Shalini and Malini. 【Photograph by Gan Chian Nee】   Shalini (middle) studied hard because she hopes to bring her family out of poverty.【Photograph by Yap Kar Ying】

Tzu Chi volunteers went to the school to settle the long over due school fees for Shalini and Malini. 【Photograph by Gan Chian Nee】
 
Shalini (middle) studied hard because she hopes to bring her family out of poverty.【Photograph by Yap Kar Ying】
Malini (sitting on the floor) and her sister understand the family's situation and never complained about the hardship.【Photograph by Gan Chian Nee】    

Malini (sitting on the floor) and her sister understand the family's situation and never complained about the hardship.【Photograph by Gan Chian Nee】
 
 

 

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