Badan, 80, gets keys to dream home
He was a homeless man who lived under the Ba Bridge.
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 Winston 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.
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.