On Sunday 22nd March, 5 Because members visited the Bodhi Homecare Cheras for abandoned and underprivileged children. We were met by Ms Ng Ching Yuet. After a quick show around the place , we sat down in the kitchen area to hear Mr. Jim, one of the 7 temple committee member share with us the temple’s history going back to 1999 and how it had now turned into a local community care centre despite their struggles.
The temple was founded by a Chinese monk from China. Shortly after obtaining registration as a legal society, the monk passed away. There were no successors. A 7 lay member committee (all working fulltime) took over to look after the place. Due to its pleasant surroundings and the presence of a large statue of Quan Yin, the locals would come to the temple to seek blessings. Some despondents who gave up on their sick or problematic children would leave them at the temple gates. The temple was located in a low income group area in Cheras.
According to Jim, even though the committee had no special experience in handling the sick children (including children with down syndrome), most of them improved after staying in the temple. Words spread. To date there are about 20 children with ages ranging from 2 – 21 years being taken care of at Bodhi Homecare Cheras.
Jim lamented that at one stage the authorities wanted to evict them, as the building was on State land and in the path of a new highway to be built. They refused to leave. Shortly afterwards, a part of the temple which was the living quarters caught fire and was destroyed. Eventually, the highway was built through the temple land (exactly where the quarters used to be). Thankfully there were no more incidents nor demands to evict after that.
This created an urgent need to make space within the existing premise to provide for extra accommodation. We observed that almost every available space in the temple had been utilized to provide basic facilities to run the community services which include free medicare, welcare, educare and homecare. These services were administered by volunteers and professionals with expertise.
All in all it was a very meaningful and inspiring visit . This centre certainly will be taken into consideration when Because Committee meet to come up with a list of worthy causes to be beneficiaries of our upcoming Charity Hunt Fund raising in August this year.
During the Chinese New year our VP Mr Kevin Tan, together with staff of his company, the Sunway group, distributed goodies and angpows to Kerdau folks under their CSR program. He noted that the nearby orang asli community were underprivileged and asked whether Because could look into improving their lives especially when they had been badly hit by the recent flood. Because members decided to visit the village on 7 th March.
Thanks to prior arrangements made by our VP, the Chairman of the Kerdau School PTA Mr. Ang was on hand to brief us on the Orang Asli’s situation. After a simple lunch he kindly took us into the village which was a few kilometres through a palm oil plantation.
The headman of the Orang Asli and a few other members of their community took us to one of their long houses where we all sat down on the floor to listen to him talk.
It was heartening to hear they were coping quite well on their own with all the basic necessities taken care of. They had no immediate needs. The headman asked if we could provide them with a motorized sampan as they did not have one during the recent flooding of the area. After the discussion, we were taken to a building used as kindergarten. They needed to extend it to provide a dining place for the kids. Adjacent to the kindergarten was a brick house meant for the resident teacher. It had some cracks in the walls and was abandoned. One of the Orang Asli representatives asked if that could be repaired or needed to be rebuilt. Our President, a Civil Engineer immediately did a cursory check of the single storey building. There was no immediate danger of the house collapsing as the cracks were due to uneven ground settlement. Our President adviced the headman that if the cracks did not open up further indicating ground movement had stabilized, the cracks could be patched up with high strength mortar. Stiffeners could be erected to strength those walls which had slanted slightly. Members also noted that the few playground equipments near the kindergarten was in state of disrepair and rusted through.
The visit ended around 3pm.
*Because committee will be meeting end of March to decide whether to include this cause into our list of beneficiaries for the proposed Charity Hunt fund raising planned for August 2015.
Chatting with the Headman in the long house
The rusty playground – aftermath of the floods