Already suffering from the deaths of her parents and her loss of income through COVID-19, 18-year-old Meera Boodram and her siblings struggled the last few months, trying to build a new home.
But a few days made a difference in the lives of the Boodram orphans who received an outpouring of help since Guardian Media highlighted their plight three days ago.
A visit to their under-construction home yesterday at Wilson Road, Penal, showed completed walls to the three-bedroom house that the orphans completed in three days, with the help of carpenter Brandon Peterson and his son Damien.
Meera said since the story, her phone rang non-stop with calls from people offering assistance. So far, they got a pallet of clay blocks, red sand, Z Purlins and labour. She said at their rate of work, and with continued help, they can finish in three weeks.
“A lot of people called in, asking if we have a listing. I sent it to them, and they told me they would give feedback,” Meera said.
But a lot is needed to get the family back on track. Meera said that her grandmother is giving them mattresses and any donation of window frames, doors, furniture, appliances, clothes or roofing material would help.
“We will accept all with a big heart,” she said.
Meera enrolled in a nursing programme at a private hospital in San Fernando, but when COVID-19 came to T&T shores, the company retrenched the trainees.
The last week contrasted the past years for the orphans. In 2015, they suffered a shock when their father Looknath Boodram died from a stroke. Looknath’s death led to disputes with other relatives over the property.
In February, doctors diagnosed their mother Seeta Boodram, 38, with an autoimmune disease and she died suddenly.
They suffered another blow as relatives kicked them out of their childhood home while attending Seeta’s funeral. Thankfully, their grandmother took them in at her home.
Now six months later, Meera, her sister Raveena, 20, and Ravi, 11, are withstanding scorching temperatures and rain to build a new home and new life.
Ravi, who had online classes in preparation of the Secondary Entrance Assessment in 2021 also helped in laying blocks over the last few days.
As they took yesterday off to rest, donors from as far as Petit Valley and Paramin were delivering aid to the family. Members of the Romain and Bowman families brought food and toiletries. Ricardo Cleghorn brought a donation from his daughter Meghan, and her friend Leon Morrin who are both abroad. Cleghorn said he saw the orphans’ story on CNC3 News and sympathised with them,” Cleghorn said.
Meera said assistance came from Seeballack’s Hardware and Anand’s Low Price Group so far and Angostura contacted them to offer help.
In a media release, Angostura said as a corporate citizen it understands the importance of giving back and helping those in need. Angostura will partner with the Coosal’s Group of Companies to provide building materials.
“Stories like that of the Boodram family really tug at your heart. We cannot imagine what it’s like for three siblings to have the task of building their own home at such a young age and especially while one of them is still in school. We believe that it is necessary to step in and help them. This is what Angostura is all about and we have demonstrated that as we have always been giving back to society and those in need,” Angostura’s Public Relations & Hospitality Manager, Judy Kanhai said.
Coosal’s executive chairman Sieunarine Coosal said he is happy to assist because he thinks it’s a very deserving cause.
“I can identify with their needs and situation because this has touched me on a personal level. To whom much is given, much is expected.”