“My name is Madhu Sudhan, I’m from Klang, and I’m the Teddy Bear Doctor. Along with a group of friends, we provide free medical care every Wednesday night for the homeless, urban poor, and anyone who cannot afford basic medical care.
Initially all the medication was from my own clinic, and started with my elder doctor brother, younger pharmacist sister, and 8 volunteers.
Most of the patients have severe wounds on the legs and severe skin infection, and major asthma and heart cases as well. If their condition is terrible we bring them to the hospital. We also sponsor for their medicine, if they cannot afford it.
But the thing is, for the majority of Malaysians out there, a homeless person holds a lot of stigma. Some come from other states and can’t find a job here, and some of them do have a job but cannot afford a place to stay, so they are on the streets, and use public toilets.
A lot of them are security guards and their salaries are RM900 a month. Even rented rooms go for RM 300-400 per month.
On the other hand, a few homeless people might be drug addicts, but in reality some also has to leave their family homes, or have chronic illnesses such as fourth stage cancer and don’t want to burden their families.
Some of the families know, but they don’t care. Some families have accepted them back after we approached them. This is why they don’t want their photos taken, because they don’t want their families to know they are homeless.
So they leave the house than to be a burden on the family. They rather die on the streets than die with the family.
The homeless people feel afraid to visit the public health clinics. They feel neglected by society, feel left out, scared and shy especially in their current condition (as a homeless person) to seek out help. This is why we approach them, its the only way for them to get help.
Photostory by Mushamir Mustafa
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