*Latest update at the bottom of the story* -- (Latest update: 18 Oct 2017, please scroll down)
That little living room that you see in the display picture becomes a
bedroom for about 8 children when night falls. They pull out thin mattresses
without covers and make do to get their rest.
The little girl, Nancy (just turned 1 y.o) sleeping in the donated pink
bouncer is the only one who has a somewhat permanent spot in the house. Until she
outgrows it and join the rest on the floor.
The house smells old and the walls are bare. But on a it you can find
traces of hope and positivity. The peeling wall paint decorated with pure
intentions that read "I love Jesus" and smiley faces.
When I heard about the donation drive from my little toddler's school for Lotus Charity Centre after their house was burnt down last year (they are now in a rental). I wanted to help and like so many of us, I immediately thought "I have some old clothes
and toys to donate", "let me send them some food..". This is
what many homes need, including Lotus for sure. But after having sat there in the living room
with those kids and their caretakers, one would be branded blind and heartless
if you couldn’t tell that what they really need is their own proper home.
Their very simple rental home now has 3 bedrooms. And they have 26 children plus
caretakers. They used to house some of the kids in a construction
container outside this home (also donated) as a desperate measure, but it got
way too hot inside. I offered to have an air-conditioning unit fitted in for
them, but they said “how kind of you, but we won’t even be able to afford the
electricity for it.”.
The Lotus Charity Care Centre has been around for the last 14 years.
Unfortunately, the late founder Dr. R. Thomas Manoharan has passed away,
leaving the care centre with 25 old folks and 26 children to his wife Sarah to
All these children come from a trail of sorrow-- abandoned by their
parents, grandparents… some even came straight from the hopsital with no
history or story. I cannot imagine what goes through their innocent minds. Are
they sad? Do they resent? And yet while I was there, the little boy who was
sitting next to me was humming “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your
I am happy to attest that the children all look relatively well looked
after despite such circumstances. This has reinforced my confidence in
Sarah's true love and devotion to the children even in the face of
great adversity. She insists that the older children all go to school, but
is also struggling to pay for their tuition fees and school supplies.
Their plight is urgent. Sarah, who is assisted by her son Michael (who is a
Pastor at a Christian Church) are struggling to make ends meet. They rely on
donations to put food on the table, buy medicine for the kids (and old folks), and are scraping
by month to month.
Lotus has a small piece of corner terrace house land to build their new home
on, but they do not have the money to start building it. They need
RM450,000 to make their new home happen, and that is the target I have set out
in this online campaign for them. It is high, but I am hopeful and determined
to help them achieve a more dignified living. I hope that you will extend some kindness to these children and selfless
Thank you so much.
(I am a mother of two beautiful boys, based in Seri Kembangan, Selangor. If you need more clarification or would like to get in touch regarding this project, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lotus Charity Care Centre contact details:
016-9462081 (Sarah Thomas)
No 41, Jalan 3A Taman Hiew Piaw
43500 Semnyih Selangor
Facebook: search for “Lotus Charity Care Centre”
More details which I found on the web: http://sanctuaryofhope.blogspot.my/2016/02/malaysia-lotus-charity-care-centre.html
For those of you in Malaysia who would like to do a direct transfer to them: “Lotus Charity Care Centre” (Hong Leong Bank a/c no: 039-00-30334-7)
*5th June 2017 Update*
Thank you so much to everyone who have so generously gave and reached out to extend your support and words of encouragement. Through this site and some offline donations, we have been able to raise a considerable amount of funds but also have a long way more to go. Please continue to support by telling people about it and give as you please.
I visited the home again over the past weekend and started some planning on how this project should proceed. Sarah and everyone at the home is absolutely over the moon about this and cannot believe that the home they have been dreaming and praying for is inching closer.
It is my intention to keep people updated on the progress of this project. I will either keep posting here in this story page or start a simple blog page later on.
I would also like to thank the SimplyGiving platform for providing the needed transparency and accountability in this fund raising process, and it's team who has been very encouraging and helpful.
*23 June 2017 Update*
With the advise of the professional architect and project manager who are helping out this project on a pro bono basis (last two photos in the gallery), we have a good idea of the layout, size and usage of this new home.
Right after the Hari Raya break, the town planner in this team will approach the local council to find out the status of the land they have, and work towards getting all the right paperwork in place.
My sincere thanks for all your support and help, Selamat Hari Raya!
* 2 August 2017 Update *
It has been a month of slow progress in July, mainly due to the collecting of all necessary documents to prepare for council submission. One of it is the Land Title copy of the land Lotus has, which is currently under mortgage with HLB and hence the original land title is kept with the Bank at the head office. Sarah and her son went to the bank to request for the certified true copy on the 6th of July (pic above), and was told that it would take up to three working weeks for it.
Sarah just went back again yesterday to check on the status, but was told that the bank had misplaced her first request form and they still hadn't retrieve her documents. She had to do another request form and we are waiting for another week to check back.
Meanwhile, the architect and planners have a tentative programme on how things may go towards building of the house:
1) Compiling information - 4 weeks (Current status)
2) First Architecture Concept Layout - 2 weeks
3) Preparation of DO & Building Plan Submission - 4 weeks
4) DO & Building Plans Submission - 2 days
5) DO & Building Plans Approval - 3 months (at the least. This is in according to the usual speed of council approvals for such projects)
6) Preparation of Construction Drawings once Approved - 1 month
7) Preparation of Awarding Contractor - 2 weeks
8) Commence of Construction Works - at least 6 months, depending on budget.
With the above said, here are a few FAQs we have been getting:
i) When will construction of the house begin?
- As you can see for the above necessary steps, the earliest we can start is by end of the year when all the needed council approvals are obtained, which can take a while, and we also have to anticipate changes to the plans shall they arise.
ii) How are the funds being used properly?
- Sarah and I both agree that we have to jointly oversee the use of money and make sure there is check and balance. Right now we have set up a joint account with CIMB bank to hold the money for this project and have an arrangement that both of us are comfortable with and have faith in. The money from Simply Giving website is still with the website and yet to be transferred to this joint account (as of writing this). This joint account is for the sole purpose of building this new home.
The budget of RM450,000 to complete this house (full furnished) that is approximately 3,500 sqf, puts our budget at RM 128/psf . This is a very tight budget and we will have to spend very carefully. Thank you to those also who have come forward to offer help on donating some building materials.
Once the house is built, shall there be any surplus in the account, all will be moved to the Home's months operating account to help with their daily expenses and this joint account will be properly closed.
iii) How else can people help?
The home is always in need of help as they have 50 over residents in total (children plus old folks). Where possible for anyone, please do consider to step in and contribute a small sum to them on a monthly basis. Their running cost is quite high, and as you can imagine, feeding so many mouths is a constant challenge! The home goes through up to 50 cans of milk powder alone for the young children (Lactogen 1-5 y.o). Simply Giving is planning to work with the home to update their own fundraiser page that can help towards alleviating the stress of scraping by month to month, please do assist if you can.
iv) Is my donation tax exempted?
The Lotus Charity Care Centre has begun it's process to apply for tax exemption status but has not yet been granted. A check with other charities in the same position have told me that this is a lengthy process that is not often successful. While I agree that having a tax exemption status would simplify fund raising, it is precisely those who don't have that privilege need help the most.
I am available to answer any reasonable comments and questions any donors have. I remain humbled and grateful for all the support people have been giving to this cause.
* 18 October 2017 Update *
Hello everyone! Happy Deepavali!
I am pleased to update that most of the documents needed to submit for building plans are ready. We are at stage 3 as listed in the steps above (a bit delayed so far but not that bad). We are also getting an engineer in to help do all the necessary site checks, ie. like soil testing. Due to the council setback requirement, the home needs to be 3 levels high in order to satisfy the minimum usage requirement of all the occupants.
Donations are still slowly coming in, thank you everyone for that! We aren't that far off from our target! Please keep supporting and helping to spread awareness.
18 Oct 2017