RAVINDRAN Rajappan, a boarder at Rumah Kebajikan Ambu Ilam, can still remember receiving a chocolate birthday cake for his 15th birthday from Datin Seri R. Indrani, wife of former MIC president Datuk Seri Samy Vellu.
“I went to the home at the age of five after my parents separated. I stayed there till I was 17,” revealed Ravindran.
Some 2,000km away in the Philippines, Maria Amor, who grew up in a middle-class family, was crowned Miss Luzon.
The dancer and fitness instructor later moved to the United States and now has her own business supplying oven liners to Christmas Tree stores.
What were the odds of this beauty queen and a boy from a broken home crossing paths in Malaysia?
As fate would have it, Amor, 44, and Ravindran, 35, met at a recent meeting in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the forming of the Malaysian chapter of We Care For Humanity, which she founded.
Amor connected with Datuk Seri Dharmadass Damoo, a plantation advisor and local representative for the World Peace Committee, through Facebook.
Damoo, 66, then brought both of them together as they have a similar passion for charity and humanitarian causes.
Amor is also here to film her TV show, The Travelling Princess, scheduled to air in December on Global TV, a digital service targeted at viewers in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Mexico.
Though from different backgrounds, all three share the same objectives — to raise awareness on humanitarianism.
A year ago, Ravindran founded Patronage of Refugee, an NGO providing social services, protection and temporary shelter for migrants and victims of human trafficking in Malaysia.
Since its founding, the organisation has established contacts with leaders of Burmese, Sri Lankans and Pakistani migrant communities in Kuala Lumpur, Serdang and Johor Baru.
Three terrace houses in Jalan Bukit, Kajang, act as temporary shelter for migrants seeking political asylum.
“We have doctors coming in to provide medical care. When there is a death, we help to repatriate the body. We also promote education for refugee children. Over the years we have helped 200 children,” said Ravindran who earns a living by selling water filters.
He hopes Amor’s decision to feature his organisation in The Travelling Princess will help raise funds for his organisation.
Ravindran is also due to attend the Global Officials of Dignity Awards, scheduled this July at the United Nations Building in New York.
“The Travelling Princess is a search for the greatest humanitarians in the world,” said Amor who has been to India and Sri Lanka previously and featured people like Hari Prasad Kanoria, who founded the Acid Survivors Foundation in India and Jeff Goonewardena, the consul-general of Sri Lanka to the United States.
According to her, Goonewardena sponsored 1,500 school bags for Tamil and Sinhalese children in his home country.
Amor also visited the Ambu Illam home where she spoke to some 20 children about the importance of education. “You will be what you want to be if you put your heart and mind into achieving your goals,” she advised them.
Amor also accompanied Ravindran and Damoo to a Sri Lankan migrant community located in Jalan Sentul Bahagia 3 in Taman Permata where she saw firsthand their squalid living conditions
Those who wish to help, can call Ravindran at 017-341 3419 or Damoo at 019-369 8242. Amor can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.