A heart for the elderly


  • Metro News
  • Thursday, 28 May 2020

Residents relaxing while watching television at Persatuan Penganut Thiru Arut Prakasa Vallalar in Batu Maung, Penang — Photos: ZAINUDIN AHAD/The Star

FOR the past five years, certified homeopathy practitioner Ravi Tandathabani has been running a welfare home for the elderly who are neglected in Batu Maung, Penang.

The 55-year-old has been financing Persatuan Penganut Thiru Arut Prakasa Vallalar with the money he earns from treating diabetic patients.

Ravi, who founded the home, is a devout follower of Saint Ramalinga Swamy, commonly known as Vallalar since the age of 24.

“This is in line with the teachings of Vallalar, who was known for his utmost love and compassion for all living creatures above birth, class, status or privilege.

“When I first started the home in March 2015, I forked out about RM30,000 from my own pocket, together with the help of some close friends and my wife.

“Until today, I am trying my best to manage the home with whatever earnings I make through homeopathy treatment.

“But with the movement control order (MCO) lately, it has been quite a struggle, ” he said when met at the centre recently.

The home’s operation has been affected with reduced funds during the MCO, says Ravi.The home’s operation has been affected with reduced funds during the MCO, says Ravi.

Ravi said the non-religious centre has 16 residents comprising 10 Indians and six Chinese.

“There is no religious restriction in our centre which is purely based on humanitarian values such as love and compassion.

“We do not discriminate and those who need medical treatment and shelter are most welcome, ” he said.

Ravi said most of the residents were referred to the home by well-wishers, while some were brought in by the public.

“Our centre can accommodate up to 20 residents.

“I am currently looking for a bigger place to house between 50 and 60 residents.

“I hope to take in more needy, neglected and homeless elderly as the number of this group of people is increasing day by day.

“Hopefully, if all goes well, I can move to a bigger place either by December or January next year because I don’t want to keep turning away those who are brought to us, ” he added.

Ravi (left) dressing the wound on a resident’s leg at the home.Ravi (left) dressing the wound on a resident’s leg at the home.

Ravi said he focused on three areas when a resident came to the home — health care, diet improvement by providing only vegetarian meals and spiritual motivation.

“My two volunteers S. Jegan and S.Thinesh also help me see to the residents’ hospital appointments and give them homeopathy treatment, ” he said, adding that the home only took in residents who are not bedridden.

He said the centre needed about RM15,000 a month for rental, medicines, food, clothes and transportation for the residents.

“A lot of people are donating items to us and we are grateful for that.

“But we are also hoping for some financial support as we hope to move to a bigger place to cater to more residents, ” said Ravi.

Volunteer and association secretary Vasudavan Sinaiyah, 63, said he first met Ravi when he brought his footballer friend, who was suffering from diabetes, to seek homeopathy treatment in 2018.

“I was attracted to the way he attended to my friend and other patients.

“I became a volunteer after that and have been helping out with the administrative work at the home, ” he said, adding that he also became a follower of Vallalar and had been introducing other diabetic patients to the centre.

Those who wish to help, can call Ravi (016-419 2831) or Vasu (013-421 9266).

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