Family faces long struggle


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 12 Jun 2004

BY A. LETCHUMANAN

KUALA LUMPUR: Life is a long, bleak struggle for dishwasher A. Papa, 41. 

With her RM20 daily wage, she has to care for five children, four of whom have serious medical problems. 

Occasionally, she also has to deal with an alcoholic and abusive husband who turns up demanding money. 

Her third child, Dharmendra, nine, has kidney failure and has difficulty in urinating.  

SAD PLIGHT: Mohan perusing Papa's documents while Devendran, Dharmendra, Papa, Dayahlan, Aemalachumi and Komathy look on in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

An operation can help him but Papa has been putting it off.  

“I have to be at the hospital to look after him. I won’t be able to work. How will I feed the children?” she asked.  

“Sometimes I feed the children only slices of bread and kopi-o as there is not enough money,” she said when MIC Youth Social and Welfare Bureau chairman T. Mohan visited their sparse Desa Petaling low-cost flat yesterday. 

Her eldest son, Devendran, 17, has cerebral palsy, daughter Komathy, 13, has diabetes, and another son, Dayahlan, four, has asthma.  

Only one daughter, Aemalachumi, six, is healthy. 

Medicine for the children, including four daily insulin injections for Komathy, cost RM300 per month.  

Papa has not been able to pay the rent and the utility bills for several months. 

Mohan said Gowri Balakrishnan, a teacher at Sekolah Menengah Desa Petaling where Devendran and Komathy were studying, brought the family’s plight to his attention. 

Devendran is in a special rehabilitation class while Komathy is in a Remove Class.  

Dharmendra is studying at the Bukit Jalil Tamil School. 

Mohan, who was accompanied by bureau members K. Chandran and A. Sitterassu, offered to pay the outstanding rentals and utility bills totalling RM1,500 and also to relocate the family to a new low-cost unit in Subang. 

“We will pay the down payment for the unit and the rent for some months. We also plan to start a fund to help with the children’s medical treatment and other needs,” he said. 

He said Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk G. Palanivel has agreed to get welfare aid for the family. 

Those who want to help the family can do so by addressing cheques to Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad (account no. 1238-0068719-52-4) or to the MIC Youth Social and Welfare Bureau at No 12, Jalan PBP 5, Taman Industri Pusat Bandar Puchong, 47100 Puchong. 

They can also contact Mohan at 019-211 9547 or Gowri at 016 -313 8362.  

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