Badan, 80, gets keys to dream home

He was a home­less man who lived un­der the Ba Bridge.

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Aman who was home­less and had lived un­der the Ba Bridge for seven years now has a home and proper roof over his head.

This is all thanks to a char­ity group from Aus­tralia - the MAA In­ter­na­tional (Mus­lim Aid Aus­tralia). Ram Badan, 80, said get­ting a new home was like a prayer be­ing an­swered. He was pre­sented keys to his dream home by the Min­is­ter for Health and Med­i­cal Ser­vices, Rosy Ak­bar. “Liv­ing un­der the bridge was the most dif­fi­cult time of my life. I didn’t have any­where to go so I lived un­der the bridge. The thought of hav­ing a home was only a dream,” Mr Badan said. “And now I have a new home and I now have the op­por­tu­nity to live among peo­ple who care for me. I am thank­ful to MAA for giv­ing me this new life. I am also as­sisted by the so­cial wel­fare as­sis­tance and with the new home, this as­sis­tance will go a long way in en­abling me to live a dig­ni­fied life.” Mr Badan is just one of 40 peo­ple who have been aided by the char­ity group. Lekima Ratu, 56, who is a fish­er­man in Ba, was also as­sisted by MAA. “My house was de­stroyed in cy­clone and so far I had been stay­ing with my In­dian neigh­bour’s house. I am pleased that I have been as­sisted with the new house and I would like to thank the MAA In­ter­na­tional for this much needed as­sis­tance that is a re­lief for our fam­i­lies,” Mr Ratu said. In 2015, the MAA, a non-govern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion, started work in Fiji through five ma­jor devel­op­ment pro­grammes. In do­ing so the or­gan­i­sa­tion spent more than $1.5mil­lion. The pro­grammes in ar­eas of ed­u­ca­tion, hous­ing, food aid, emer­gency re­lief and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment has ben­e­fited over 4000 peo­ple Fiji wide, from all eth­nic back­grounds.

As part of the hous­ing as­sis­tance, MAA In­ter­na­tional has also spent over $292,454 in re­build­ing more than 50 homes for Fi­jian fam­i­lies who lost their be­long­ings dur­ing Cy­clone Win­ston. Ms Ak­bar com­mended the MAA In­ter­na­tional for its as­sis­tance to re­build lives of fam­i­lies af­fected by Cy­clone Win­ston. Keys to the 40 new homes built in the mod­u­lar homes in the Clop­cott set­tle­ment in Ba were pre­sented yes­ter­day by the min­is­ter. Char­ity homes have also been built in ar­eas of Ra and Nadi. Di­rec­tor MAA in­ter­na­tional projects Saed Khan said their projects were based on the prin­ci­ples of pro­fes­sion­al­ism and best prac­tices to as­sist the most needy com­mu­ni­ties, re­gard­less of race or na­tion­al­ity.

In 2016, the group as­sisted 65 stu­dents with schol­ar­ships for ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion, spend­ing at least $315,000. After TC Win­ston, they dis­trib­uted 33 tonnes of food ra­tions.

Their other project is build­ing mod­u­lar homes. They have built 45 of it and 15 char­ity homes, and also pro­vide build­ing ma­te­ri­als to fam­i­lies. In emer­gency, the group has spent half a mil­lion dol­lars this year. Last year, they dis­trib­uted 5000 food aid packs to the vic­tims of Cy­clone Win­ston. “In to­tal MAA In­ter­na­tional has spent over $1.5 mil­lion in Fiji and we are com­mit­ted to same amount of aid in 2017 and on­wards,” Mr Khan said.

Each house costs at least $6000 to build and is de­signed by en­gi­neers with cer­ti­fied stan­dards.

The struc­ture is also ex­pand­able.

Photo: DEPTFO News

Min­is­ter for Health and Med­i­cal Ser­vices Rosy Ak­bar (left) with Ram Badan (mid­dle) in his new home he re­ceived through the MAA In­ter­na­tional’s hous­ing pro­gramme.

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