HIV shelter badly needs funds to stay afloat

Elizabeth (red T-shirt) talking to the residents of Mercy Home at Taman Teluk Molek in Teluk Air Tawar, Butterworth. With them is Dr Shreen (in orange).

A HIV shelter home at Taman Teluk Molek in Teluk Air Tawar, Butterworth, is in dire need of funds following the Covid-19 pandemic, which has kept its regular donors away.

Penang Catholic Diocese AIDS Mercy Home administrator Elizabeth Thomas said the home needs RM15,000 a month for its maintenance.

She said many individuals had pledged their support in terms of cash and kind for the day-to-day running of the shelter home.

“However, funds stopped coming in once the nation was hit by the pandemic, ” she said.

Elizabeth said the home depends on public donations to operate.

“The building belongs to the Penang Catholic Diocese. As such, we do not have to pay for rental and only pay for water and electricity.

“We need money to buy foodstuff as well as pay for transport and allowance for four staff members. We also have a night caregiver who works from 7pm to 7am.“We also raise funds through

our annual fundraising projects, which include the World AIDS Day on Dec 1 and International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day, which is held on the third Sunday in May, ” she added.

Elizabeth said the home, which takes in only women and children, currently has six residents, aged between 10 and 60.

“We, however, have one boy aged 10, who is schooling in Year Five. His mother was also here but passed away last September. She was 44 years old then.

“Our first resident, who was totally blind, bedridden, and in need of palliative care, was wheeled in on Sept 3,2015.

“Through this shelter home, we hope that those who come here will be empowered to live normal and healthy lives, and free from stigma and discrimination.

“The home is open to any HIV patient who needs accommodation, regardless of race and religion.

“It is strictly for women and children and they must be referred by a doctor, ” she said.

Also present was the home’s legal advisor S. Anthonysamy and medical doctor Dr S. Shreen.

Those who are willing to donate can call Elizabeth at 012-596 4150.

Donations of RM100 and above are tax-exempted.

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