Manjung Hindu Sabha Orphanage Fund


Provides support to this orphanage. Sitiawan, Malaysia

Fund #53

Introduction

The orphanage was founded in 1996 by the Manjung Hindu Sabha (MHS), when three siblings were abandoned by their parents in Sitiawan. The Manjung Orphanage now provides a loving home for 30 children (orphans and abandoned) and is responsible for their cultural advancement and education.

The orphanage strives to give the best possible education to every child in its care, and to ensure that children who leave it will be able to sustain themselves and their families in a decent and loving way. The Manjung Orphanage likes to think that it is building the foundations of a compassionate society through the love and peace that it offers to the children in its care. The orphanage personnel are striving under harsh conditions to provide joy and happiness for all the children, so they can proudly call Manjung their home.

Facilities

The Orphanage is housed in the Ashram hall complex. The two-story building beside the hall is the temporary home for the children. The top floor consists of two rooms which are the sleeping quarters for the children. They are separated by gender in the two rooms.

With the help of various donations, the Orphanage recently purchased a van, essential for the education travels of the children. It is mainly used to provide a secure vehicle for transporting the younger children to and from nearby schools.

Activities

The children partake in a series of indoor and outdoor activities such as:

1) Weekly lessons on Hinduism:

The lessons include Basic Hindu philosophy, Meditation and and Hatha Yoga, and are conducted by volunteers.

2) Daily Puja and Bhajans.

Every morning the children gather together to participate in a puja. The puja is conducted by the older children. Bhajans are conducted in the evening before dinner.

3) Handicraft Classes.

The creativity of the children is encouraged by making handicraft which will be used in various fund raising activities.

4) Dance Class

Classical Baratha Natyam classes are conducted once a week.

5) Outdoor activities include outings with visitors

Management

Mr Aramban (pictured above) is the President of the Orphanage and has dedicated an important part of his life to the activities of the children. He is assisted by a dedicated team of volunteers in maintaining and managing the orphanage.

President: Mr. Aramban

Vice President: Mr. Jeganathan

Secretary: Mr. Dhanasegaran

Treasurer: Mr. Kaliappan

Finance

The average expenses of the orphanage per month are RM 2,500-00 (US$675). These expenses include food, medical expenses, housing, transportation, as well as costs for a caretaker/cook.

Location

The orphanage is located in the town of Sitiawan in the State of Perak. It is about 90km from Ipoh, the state capital.

Address

Sanathana Dharma Ashram (MHS) 101, Jalan Astaka Kg Serdang, 32000 Sitiawan, Perak, Malaysia

Future Plans

The orphanage personnel have many plans for securing a good life for the children that are living in its premises at the moment and the ones that will be part of the Manjung family in the years ahead. All the plans are subject to the amount of money that can be raised through donations and the fund raising activities in which the children partake.

One of the most immediate and necessary needs is to build a three-story building that will separate the male from the female children, and give them more space and freedom. The orphanage has already managed to purchase a nearby piece of land and has raised RM29,000-00 (US$7,800) to initiate the project. Unfortunately a lot more funds are needed for the building and to improve the standard of living of the children.

Support Us

The orphanage is a totally voluntary and non-profit organization and can survive only by the generous support and donations which are provided by kind hearted people from all over the world. We hope you will be able to join them in this great cause of keeping the children happy in a place they can call "home" and build solid foundations for their present and future.

Any donation, small or large, can provide an improvement to the living conditions of the Manjung children.

The Manjung Orphanage Endowment fund was setup in order to provide continuous financial support for the very difficult conditions that the staff and children in Manjung experience every day. We strive to provide the most secure future for the orphanage and the best standard of living for the children.

As with all the HHE funds a donation to the Manjung Orphanage Endowment fund qualifies you instantly for a US tax deduction.

Volunteer's Tale of Two Visits to a Malaysian Orphanage

Manjung
Dayavati (in blue) with ashram founder Santha Devi (in orange) and children at the orphanage

On December 26, 2004, American Hindu Dayavati Murugan woke up in her Kuala Lumpur hotel in Malaysia to a tsunami report on CNN. One of the worst natural disasters in recorded history had occurred, with 230,000 people killed in eleven countries bordering the Indian Ocean. Malaysia, shielded by the Island of Sumatra, reported only 68 deaths from the earthquake-driven waves, three of them in Perak, Dayavati's destination. The next day she rode a bus five hours to Sitiawan, Perak, a city of some 100,000 and home to the Manjung Orphanage, founded in 1996 to house three siblings abandoned by their parents. It is the area's only Hindu orphanage.

"There were about thirty boys and girls living there in 2004, some very young," she said. "I loved the place." She lived with the girls in the upstairs dormitory in the two-story building which also housed the kitchen, dining room and community hall. "I established a wonderful connection with the children," she added, describing her volunteer work, leading pujas and bhajans and explaining Hindu teachings to the young residents during her two-week stay. "After coming back to the US, I received cards and letters from them over the next three years."

When Dayavati returned in December of 2007, the orphanage---local residents refer to it as "the ashram"---had changed. In 2004 the ashram had already exceeded its 25-resident capacity. Now she found a population of 50, most of them pre-teenage. The older girls had to keep order, and some resorted to caning. Pressing needs included increased space, more adult staff and discipline consistent with the Hindu commitment to nonviolence.

This time Dayavati stayed a month, living in a home across the alley from the ashram. "All the children were crammed into the main building, with girls upstairs and the boys sleeping on mats on the cement floor in the dining room downstairs. Housing fifty children, the facilities were over-used and showed it." More paid staff was needed. "The cook was the only adult living with the children. One person cannot keep control in those conditions," she felt. " The director agreed." Dayavati returned home concerned: "Most of the children are not literally orphans. They come from troubled homes. As their numbers grew, they needed more care than the small staff could give."

Since her 2007 visit, things have changed for the better, and the number of children has grown to 54. The ashram has acquired a four-bedroom, two-bath house across the alley, moved the boys there under the live-in supervision of a retired estate caretaker, and finally cleared title to an empty lot nearby, gifted for a new facility. The classes she started on the yamas and niyamas---the 20 ethical restraints and observances---have continued. "It warms my heart. They've also hired tutors for the children. That's huge. Overcrowding made studying difficult and some residents were dropping out of school." She is also encouraged that the ashram now practices Positive Discipline, a firm but nonviolent style of child-rearing advocated worldwide by Gurudeva.

"I was absolutely thrilled when Santha Devi, one of the ashram founders, told me these things were happening," Dayavati said. "Santha is also teaching the children handicrafts, cooking and baking." The Sitiawan community gives food to the ashram, she said. "Local farmers bring fresh produce, and many local Hindu families celebrate birthdays and anniversaries by providing a nice meal for the children or taking them on an outing to the beach or park."

She hopes readers can contribute US$40 for a new set of school clothes to a Manjung child. The Manjung Hindu Sabha Orphanage Fund is Hindu Heritage Endowment fund #53. Donate to the fund at www.hheonline.org.

For information on establishing a fund at the Hindu Heritage Endowment, contact Shanmuganathaswami at 808-822-3012 x 244 or email hhe@hindu.org.

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