SEREMBAN: Human rights advocate and Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez was always proud of the fact that she was the daughter of a migrant worker from Kerala who grew up in an estate in Sungai Petani, Kedah.
Before her passing, the teacher-turned-social activist and recipient of several international awards for her exemplary work in various fields, had also told her three children to continue her unfinished work to help the poor and the oppressed.
Her husband, Joseph Paul, 67, said although she was warded at the Serdang Hospital for her heart condition, she would still talk about her work and things that she had to do.
“Such was her commitment to her work for the people that she was constantly worrying despite being warded,” he said.
Paul revealed that although his wife spent a lot of time on activism, she always had time for their three children – Tania Jo, 32, Camverra Jose, 31, and Katrina Jorene, 29.
Paul, who would have celebrated his 33rd wedding anniversary with Fernandez on the day she passed away, said his late wife was so committed to her cause that she felt “tortured” when she had to move to Mersing, Johor, with him where he had to move for work.
“But when we moved back to Kuala Lumpur a year later, she immediately joined the Selangor Consumers Association.
“From there she and a few others went on to form several other groups such as All Women Action Society and the Joint Action Group for Violence Against Women,” said Paul.
Fernandez’s remains will be taken to the Church of Divine Mercy in Shah Alam at 3pm tomorrow and cremated at the Nirvana Crematorium the following day.