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A Safer Shelter to live peacefullyMr. Abdul Cadar

I am near the town of Muthur and in the small village of Shafinah I am here to meet a beneficiary of MA’s housing scheme, I meet Abdul Cadar 67 and his wife Jasmina 62. As I approach the plot of land owned by the couple and push open the Cajum (lattice of dried palm leaves) door in the fence. Abdul emerges from an old but tidy hut which is being used as their outside kitchen.

Abdul is a trader of shellfish, prawns to be precise and collects the produce direct from the boats and used to go door to door selling them to people in the village to support his wife Jasmina and 8 children (2 boys & 6 girls). Strapping a polystyrene box onto his bike he covered enormous mileage doing this physically demanding job in the heat.

7 years ago this changed for Abdul when he became increasingly short of breath and was diagnosed with a heart defect. He needed an operation to fit a pace maker to regulate his heart beat at a cost of 500,000 Rupees or £2,500. He owned 4 acres of padi fields and was forced to sell them to cover the medical costs of the procedure. As a result of this operation he was unable to work and unable to support his large family all increasingly becoming of school age and needing funding for their classes.

Muslim Aid identifies Abdul as someone in need of support and he is brought into the housing project scheme they have in the village. MA have built and funded 130 new homes for families in this village which is so much more than any gestures from the government. Infact MA has built a total of 600 homes in Sri Lanka alone.

Abdul and Jasmina walk us to the new house at the foot of the garden, its wonderful in bright yellow and has an out side porch area to shelter from the harsh heat of the day. The house is 240 square feet and has beautifully rendered walls and smooth concrete floors. A plaque on the wall by the door states it was constructed in 2017 and a donation from Muslim Aid.

His life is looking on the up, he feels better after his operation and whilst he took significant time out he has started to return slowly to work to ease up finances for his family. Rather than selling door to door he buys his prawns from the boat and takes them straight to a trader at market for a smaller profit but easier on his health. The last month has been really hard for Abdul, Jasmina and their one remaining child living at home, their daughter aged 23 who is due to be married.

This is the tricky bit. Abdul must provide a dowry for his daughters hand, the dowry in this case is the house given to him the beneficiary donated by Muslim Aid. His daughter will live in the house and the parents will go back to the old shed on the plot currently the kitchen. I cant help but feel sad here as this wonderful hardworking couple have such a hard run at the ends of their lives.

Abdul did say his message to MA donors “He was helpless and MA has provided such great support to him and has stopped him feeling helpless”

Abdul said the past 6-8 weeks has been difficult to sustain themselves and have had to dip into their small savings pot because the weather has been so bad affecting prawn fishing. MA responds quickly and we deliver a dry ration pack containing rice, flour, eggs, salt, lentils, vegetable oil….. just to ease the pressures.