PEALS of laughter and screams of joy reverberated inside the Girl Guides hall in Brickfields recently. The annual event, called Towards a Caring 1Malaysia Welfare Programme, was organised by the Lembah Pantai Hindu Youth Organisation with the help of volunteers.
It was heartening to see 600 people, mostly children and the disabled, laughing, clapping and singing along to the songs that were being performed by orphans and undergraduates from Universiti Teknologi Petronas and several other colleges.
The event, in its 13th year, was a resounding success, even though it was the first year without the presence of the founder.
“The founder of the welfare programme, the late A. Subramaniam, passed away last year from a heart attack,” said his son, Vinayagamurthi Subramaniam.
“My father died the day after chairing a meeting to organise today’s event. Had he been alive, it would have been his 13th year at the helm of the charitable event,” Vinayagamurthi said.
“But the show must go on as they say, and my father would be proud that his good work will continue in years to come,” he added proudly.
Indeed, the late Subramaniam would be proud to know that his son and a group of volunteers are determined to carry on with the noble tradition.
According to Vinayagamurthi, his father came from a humble background and struggled to work and care for his family at a young age.
“He was only a technician with TNB, but that did not stop him from helping the poor and needy. He was always thankful for his little blessings and always vowed that despite his humble background, he would continue to help those in need,” he said.
“It was his idea to organise a welfare programme comprising children from poor families, orphans from homes, old folks and the disabled; to bring them together, treat them to good food, gifts and ang pow and we will continue to do so,” Vinayagamurti said.
“Apart from providing the homes with essential necessities and giving everyone a good time today, our volunteers are also here to assist the older folk and the disabled with services like taking them to the bathroom and serving them food. It is what my father always preached; ‘Service to man is service to God’,” he added.
Among the homes that were invited were Anbu Illam, Karunai Illam, Independent Living and Training Centre, and the Malaysian Association for the Blind.
The guest of honour at the event was Senator K. Bathmavathi.