Suresh's story beggars belief

December 21, 2018





A lot of us tend to blame events that occurred in the past to explain our present life position - Seremban's Suresh P Velsami is not in this category.


"Life is hard sometimes and we have to fit into every situation," are the 

wise words coming from the mouth of the 23 year old young man sitting opposite me, smiling.


I'm interviewing Suresh in regards his volunteer work at Vinashini Home in Seremban, an orphanage and home for the mentally and physically challenged, and about a recent Scholarship awarded to him to help with his ongoing University studies.



At first he is a little reticent to discuss his upbringing, describing the period as simply undergoing a "life-changing history." 


Before I ask another question about Suresh's life story we are interrupted by 'Adam', (not his real name), who opens the closed door into the office, and immediately asks me a barrage of questions.


 "Hello, I Adam, who you, where from, what your name?” He would not stop asking questions as his curiosity had no bounds!


As a measure of the man, without angst or showing annoyance Suresh politely persuaded 'Adam', after a few minutes of talking, to go outside so we could continue our discussion and we would talk with him later. 

             𝗘𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗩𝗶𝘀𝗶𝘁 𝗯𝘆 𝗨𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗱𝘂𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗣𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗺𝗮𝗰𝘆 𝘀𝘁𝘂𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗞𝗣𝗝 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗶𝘁𝘆, 𝗡𝗶𝗹𝗮𝗶, 𝗡𝗲𝗴𝗲𝗿𝗶 𝗦𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗮𝗻. Pic supplied.


Suresh was just eight years old when his mother passed away in 2003 after battling with thyroid cancer for years.


After she had died, his father, who considered both Suresh and his older brother "a burden", regularly took the boys to the Terminal 1 bus station in Seremban to beg for money.


"We stayed there a week one time and he would make us hold up mums thyroid X-Ray and to say that it was my X ray - the money we got from begging dad used for cigarettes and alcohol.”


"Soon after that we came here (Vinashini home) as dad could not cope."


𝗘𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗩𝗶𝘀𝗶𝘁 𝗯𝘆 𝗨𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗱𝘂𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗣𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗺𝗮𝗰𝘆 𝘀𝘁𝘂𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗞𝗣𝗝 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗶𝘁𝘆, 𝗡𝗶𝗹𝗮𝗶, 𝗡𝗲𝗴𝗲𝗿𝗶 𝗦𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗮𝗻. Pic supplied.



As Suresh re-tells his past, he exudes this wonderful smile showing no trace of bitterness about the curve ball thrown at him and his older brother. His eyes literally glisten and he glows with positivity as he talks about life now having just received a Hong Leong Foundation scholarship to continue his studies pursuing a Bachelor of Professional Communication at the IUMW.


Suresh studies during the week and does some management work on his computer from his KL base and helps out on the weekends with his elder brother who also manages the male needs of the centre after completing a certificate in hotel management.


"So I came to stay here in the year of 2003 and before that I haven't been to school, kindergarten education, or any education, no preschool, I'm 8 years old. The madam president was Ms Angela and she helped us a lot, she took us into the orphanage and she fought for the right of educating us."

"Like my brother we had no identity cards or birth certificates, which is a big deal, but she fought for us and now we are on our journey, a good journey actually."



Ms Angela arranged for Suresh to go to St Paul's, an all boys single sex school and today Suresh wants to give back in some way to those people who helped him.


"When I came here(Vinashini) it didn't feel like an awful place, people would sponsor us so we could go to visit sights like Time Square and Zoo Negara in Kuala Lumpur, it was like a holiday.


Suresh’s aim is to work in public relations and to become involved in initiatives that support NGOs like Vinashini home. 


 "We have to help each other, so now I like bringing them to places, hospitals and all the other stuff," he said.

                               One of the men who stays at Vinashini home shows his swinging talents 


Suresh takes me for a short walk around the home  we head towards the garden, full of equipment to play on. A man is playing on the swing, almost launching himself as he heads skywards, ladies pick some jasmine flowers from the many trees planted alongside the walls of the establishment.

                                         A lady picks Jasmine flowers, a source of small income for the home.


“He loves it and does this almost every day,” says Suresh as we carefully wander past. 


Adam sees us again and heads our way - he asks me the same questions and adds a few more, “are you from Australia,  do you have (news)paper?

“Yes, (very surprised) to the first and no to the last, but next time I will bring a newspaper for you,” I reply.


My answers seem to satisfy his curiosity and we continue walking and take a group photo with some of the other special needs children and adults  who have finished lunch and are ready to rest.


“Most of the people here are are aged between 9 and 80 years, and have problems like mental retardation, speech impediment or autism-special needs,” says Suresh.



Even though he does not reside here anymore it’s obvious that Suresh knows most of the names of the 60 plus residents, their condition, their likes and dislikes, because he cares, and probably always will.


“Taking care of people with special needs is not very easy but somehow you must observe them, they need close attention, so it's good that I learn from all these things, even now while I'm still studying.


One of the men swings with one hand showing off his skills learnt over the many years he has spent at Vinashini Home 


Suresh organises for fellow University students studying in the fields off Care to attend the home and learn hands on what it is to be a carer as well as projects to help raise awareness and funds for those less fortunate.


It's been a long path from being an eight-year-old beggar on the streets in 2003 to graduating soon from University but Suresh harbours no regrets.


"I don't blame my father because at that time he didn't feel responsible for us, maybe he has changed, I don't know, I haven't seen him for many years now."


It's that sort of attitude that has gotten Suresh to where he is today, a young man with plenty of hope and generosity, always willing to give.


Watch this man, he too is very special.





You can help Suresh and special needs people by assisting the Vinashini Welfare Association "Persatuan Kebajikan Vinashini" in any way you can, perhaps by volunteering, sponsorship or donation.


Contact them via their FB page above or by phone 06-631 3080




                      Vinashini Home (excerpts from a story in The Sun Daily newspaper)


 The founder of Vinashini Home is Ms Angela Devi Ariyan and those who have been touched by her selfless kindness, call her an angel.


 59-year-old Angela has been taking care of individuals with special needs since 2002, at the expense of her personal time, money and strength. It is currently a place for 63 less fortunate people of various races to call home. 

Angela is assisted by her husband, Kerisnan, and three children.


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