The home in Malacca not only provides shelter for its residents but also daily meals and medical care in Government hospitals.
It started out as a labour of love and compassion, a divine calling if you will, to help the abandoned and destitute. Pertubuhan Kebajikan Warga Emas dan Anak Yatim Nazareth in Malacca is now a community of 40 adult residents living in a rented double-storey house, but its growing needs are proving to be a challenge for its founder, Pastor Yovan Anthony.
Anthony, originally from Klang, said God gave him a vision and a burden to go and pick up homeless people from the streets regardless of race or religion and give them a roof over their heads.
Many of the home’s residents were abandoned or rejected by their families or the community. Some are handicapped, mentally challenged, bedridden stroke victims, or depressed, and many have no surviving family members to care for them.
They were found wandering in the streets. Sometimes, hospitals and welfare offices send people to the home citing a lack of space. Their situation was dire indeed before they found refuge at the home.
“Actually I am happy to do this kind of work because it is my childhood desire to do (such) charity work and also it’s for the Kingdom of God,” said Anthony. “I also like to serve and help these people who are helpless. It brings me great joy to see that they can have a roof over their heads and food to eat.”
One resident, Sivam, 49, met with an accident in 2005 and was unconscious when he was admitted to the hospital. He claimed that his wife and her brother took his thumbprint and withdrew all his EPF money without his knowledge. After he recovered and was discharged, they threw him out of the house. After that, he suffered a stroke and was medically certified as mentally unsound. Someone found him on the street and brought him to the home.
Another resident, Ong, 57, was brought to the home in 2010. His wife left him many years ago when he was staying with a relative. One of his sons has passed away while another is in prison. He had a mild stroke before coming to the home and was also certified as mentally unsound. He is much better now after regular medication and has a brother who visits occasionally but does not contribute financially to his wellbeing.
In the beginning, the home’s only source of revenue and support came from individual benefactors.
The home not only provides shelter for its residents but also daily meals and medical care in government hospitals. As the numbers are increasing, so is the cost of running and maintaining the home and the need for more financial support on a regular basis.
The home needs about RM10,000 a month to function.
Currently, there are two volunteer helpers who stay in the home. Anthony and his wife Agnes Murukaiyah help out because there are not enough workers.
His wife helps out in the cooking of the four daily meals that they provide for the residents. Both husband and wife are also running a part-time business to supplement their income to run the home as well as to support and raise their five growing children.
One pressing need is to acquire a van to transport the residents for their hospital visits on a monthly basis. Anthony is using his own car to do that at the moment.
Anthony’s plan is to move into bigger premises because the existing house is already overcrowded. He also plans to take in orphans as he has been asked many times to take in children. He feels very sad when he has to turn down such requests.
“Our vision is not limited to 40 residents. There are many people coming in and we need to expand. We are expecting another 100 to 200 residents.
“Some people have asked us to take in orphans but we just do not have a house to place them in, so I have to turn them away as we cannot put them together with the adults, and we are overcrowded as it is,” he added.
He hoped more generous Malaysians would come forward to help, like a group from a Petaling Jaya church who visited the home recently bringing food, mattresses and toiletries, among other things.
“We are really desperate because the (authorities) ... have given orders for us to move to a bigger home to meet the requirements of setting up a home for the destitute,” Anthony said. “There are basically three immediate needs: a bigger house, a van, and regular financial help.”
Anthony can be contacted at No C7351, Spring Garden, Tanjung Kling, Jalan Lereh, Klebang, 76400 Malacca; mobile: 016-949 4476 or 010-517 0304.
> The writer was part of the church group that visited the home late last year.
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