Society holds celebration for five halfway house residents

The five mothers including Chan (middle) and Saraswathi (second right) celebrating Mother’s Day. —Photos: LIM BENG TATT/The Star

FIVE mothers staying at the Caring Society Complex’s temporary halfway house for the homeless were not forgotten this Mother’s Day.

The women were each given a delicious chocolate cupcake by Penang Buddhist Tzu Chit Merit Society members.

The other 29 people staying at the halfway house were also given cupcakes.

Among the mothers were M. Saraswathi, 40, and Chan Lee Yin, 66.

Saraswathi, who was at the halfway house with her husband and five children, said her family was made homeless after she lost her job as a shop assistant in Alma, Bukit Mertajam, last month.

“My husband lost his job as a security guard around the same time. We moved out of our flat as we could not afford to pay the rent but luckily, we found shelter here.

“When things get better, we hope to move back to Alma to look for jobs,” she said.

Chan and her 34-year-old autistic son are staying at the halfway house pending help from the welfare department which is looking for a flat for them.

“We came to Penang earlier this year from Kedah due to a personal problem. We did not know anyone here so we stayed at 24-hour fast food outlets.

“It is good to have a roof over our heads,” said Chan.

Penang welfare and caring society committee chairman Phee Boon Poh had said the place was set up to keep the homeless safe.

Society commissioner Khoo Boo Leong said they wanted to keep up the spirits of the residents so they held a simple Mother’s Day celebration on Monday.

“A total of 34 people are now staying at the halfway house which was set up by the state government with our help on March 27.

“The highest number of people staying there at one time was 40.

“Our members counselled those with personal problems and some have since been reunited with their families.

“We also keep them occupied and fit with light exercises.

“For example, they act out the lyrics of a Bahasa Malaysia song called ‘Kita Satu Keluarga’ (We are One Family) in sign language every day at 3.30pm,” he said, adding that the place will be kept open pending further instructions from the state.

Last month, the society celebrated the birthdays of four homeless people at the halfway house with a cake at teatime.
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