Devi Chinnadurai and her 11 children are experiencing poverty in the midst of a rapidly developing city. The 12 of them only have one can of sardine to share for their meal.
41-year-old Devi is a housewife and a single mother of 11 children aged between 3 and 19 years old, the family of twelve is living in the People’s Housing Project (PPR) in Desa Rejang, Setapak.
Source: Astro Awani
A month ago, Devi was devastated as she lost her husband, Ragunathan Batumalai, 44, to heart disease. Since losing her husband, Devi relies on her eldest son Vickneshwaran Ragunathan, 19 and her second daughter, Bavani Ragunathan, 18, who both work in an NGO with a salary of about RM1,000 per person.
According to Devi, the salaries of her two children are insufficient to accommodate the basic needs of her 11 children, especially in providing healthy and nutritious food.
She said she was only able to provide rice, curries, and vegetables.
“Our lives are very difficult. Look at me, how many children I have.
“The cost of food, buying rice is already over RM1,000, after which we need to buy vegetables.
“I also want to buy nutritious food for my children. What can I do, we’re unable to afford. We only eat what we have.
“I would usually cook curry with rice, sardine curry, or dhal curry, that’s all.”
Devi added that they are only able to buy chicken or fish once a month.
Source: Astro Awani
According to Astro Awani, Devi’s story is not a case of isolation in the midst of the development of the city. Reports by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in March show that children living in the People’s Housing Project (PPR) area around the capital suffers from serious nutritional deficiencies.
The report shows one in five children experiencing stunted growth and one in 10 children underweight.
The report also showed that weight loss among Indian children in PPR was more serious than the Malays and Chinese.
The government through the Minister of Women and Family Development has already expressed a desire to develop a national-level child developmental roadmap to address issues covering nutrition, education, housing, and poverty in the country.
(Source: Astro Awani)