Friday, July 8, 2011

Homeless People


All these homeless people in the streets- who are they? Where do they come from? Why are they here? Why still here after so many years?

Perhaps not exactly homeless in the sense that they do have someplace to rest their weary heads and bodies at the end of the day. What kind of day do they actually have? Who takes care of them? How? Why are there so many foreigners in the city, loitering around, some begging while others waiting sadly for kindness from some passer by.

How do we feel?

Sometimes people look at them with fear, apprehension and curiousity. Others may feel they are just no good beggars and do not belong here. Others may look down on them and think these people do not deserve a better life, that they should just disappear....

Early accquaintance with refugees

I do not know the answers. Many years ago many sisters joined effort to raise funds to help some Rohigya families. We found funds to rent homes for them and set up basic Quran classes for their children. Some managed to get odd jobs while the women who were less independant helped looked after the children and the homes.

Living in a mixed and traumatised community

They were a sad and mixed lot. People who had to leave their homes and worldly belongings suddenly become unwanted people of the world. Many have no identity and no recognition. Some who entered under more official means have some UN id whereas those who escaped through the mountains through Thailand have no documents. We knew some were good and educated people while others could have come from less noble backgrounds.

Sacrifices and love for family

I met a middle aged man with a very aged father, with white hair (as far as I can remember). We asked him how they came into the country. He said he carried his father on his back and walked all the way to the border. Just imagine, running for their lives and and having to carry his father, a large framed man.

Why am I writing all this?

Just 2 nights ago I met an old lady in a wheelchair situated right outside a bank at around 9 pm. I asked her where she was from but she could not understand me. She was wearing a headscarf and dressed decently in old clean clothes. She pointed to a young lady in her 20s who was also modestly covered in the Islamic way. She said she was from Myanmar.

Refugees - what will happen to them?

She said she did not live other other groups but lived with the old lady, her grandmother. She had a sad resigned look upon her face. She said they would come by the bank to wait for some donations twice a week. I was happy to see they presented themselves with dignity and modestly. No stories, no lies and no excuses. Just simple acceptance of their circumstances.

I was very touched and felt sad to see their plight. Whilst we are planning what to eat and where to go there are people who are not sure of when their next meal would be. They cannot choose which restaurant they wish to patronise and drive home in their own cars and sleep in an air conditioned room like many people.

There may not be many things to look forward to and where do they go when they fall ill? There may be some groups who may visit them but who actually cares for them?

Shukr to Allah

This makes me all the more thankful to Allah for all the mercies and blessings He has granted to us and our loved ones, our friends and our families. SubhanAllah!

How do we give thanks? Some simple ways -

Let us make some effort to remember and share with these people who are also a trial for all of us especially in Ramadhan. Even if we see a beggar on the street, just help in the name of Allah SWT. You will not lose anything as you would have done something good for the sake of Allah.

If we met some dishonest people or part of a syndicate, we need to ask why are they there. Why are they willing to be used? Maybe they have no where else to go. Certainly most of us are unable to take on the responsibility of housing them. feeding them. caring for them and finding some work for them. At least they are not trained to be pick pockets and thieves or robbers.

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