by Mary Ann Tan
An accident is always a cause for worry and pain for families but for single mother Devi Shamala*, 36, when her 15-year old son was incapacitated in a road accident, it was devastating indeed. Sharmala had only known a life of pain and suffering since her marriage to a man who beat and abused her until her left hand was severely fractured till this day. Fearful for the safety of her six children she fled from the marriage and was eventually divorced. That was 10 years ago and although it wasn’t easy trying to raise the kids on her own, she has managed to do that, until August 2015.
Everything went downhill for Devi when in August 2015, her son broke his left leg in a motorbike accident on their way back from school. She was unable to keep her regular job of cleaning houses because she needed to nurse her son back to full health even while she continues to care for the other children as well. Finances were really tight. Unable to pay her rent, she was forced to move into her cousin’s flat where she and her 6 children were crammed into a tiny room. Her children were aged 19, 18, 17, 15, 14 and 10.
However, the room didn’t come free and neither was her cousin willing to feed her children for free. All Sharmala had to survive on was the RM300 she got from the Social Welfare for her three younger children. At her wits end to feed her ever hungry children, Sharmala couldn’t believe it when Food Bank stepped in to assist with monthly groceries that included a bag of rice, cooking oil, sardines, biscuits and other items.
Where before Sharmala despaired of getting enough funds to pay both her overdue rent of 4 months and feed her kids at the same time, now Food Bank’s monthly donation of groceries was a miraculous lifeline that greatly helped to ease the hunger pangs of her growing brood. To Sharmala, the fact that Food Bank is there to assist her month after month with food necessities until her older children can complete their studies and start working, is an unbelievable miracle indeed, and her smile says it all! END
*not her real name