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Family of nine needs help

By Susan Mohammed susan.mohammed@trinidadexpress.com

ON CHRISTMAS Day, Meera Balramsingh sat on a worn mattress in her one-room apartment with her six children, while flood waters swirled around them.

Clutching her children—the oldest is ten years old—Balramsingh said she wished to be able to walk again.

Four months ago, 29-year-old Balramsingh was severely injured when a car rolled over part of her body.

Balramsingh said her pelvic bones shattered and she suffered three broken fingers, a dislocated shoulder and fractured ribs.

She moves around in a wheel chair, or treads very carefully on crutches.

Her husband, Dale Ram, 33, quit his job as a labourer at Penal/Debe Regional Corporation to assist her in taking care of the children.

They live downstairs their relative's home at the end of a dirt track off Ramai Trace, Debe, surrounded by a lagoon.

They have six children—Akile, ten, Dinesh, eight, Videsh, six, Kavita, five, Amelia, four, and baby Priyanka is seven months old.

The family and Balramsingh's father, Jagessar Balramsingh, sleep together in one bedroom on three mattresses placed on the dirt floor. The nine of them survive on groceries obtained through a food card from the Ministry of People and Social Development, along with the generosity of community activists, churches and neighbours who know of their plight.

"I would like to see a specialist so that I can get back on my feet to work again, so Dale could work again. At the clinic at the San Fernando General Hospital I got a date to see a specialist in March. But, in the meantime, I cannot bathe my baby, or even comb the children's hair. I want to be normal again," said Balramsingh.

Yesterday, community activist Raymond Surujbally went to the house and promised to return with mattresses to replace the ones that became water-logged when two feet of water entered their apartment on Christmas Day, as well as drinking water.

Balramsingh is grateful for any and all of the assistance that the family receives.

"People have been very helpful to us and we are glad for it, especially for the children," she said.

Ram said the children's school books and uniforms were destroyed in the flood waters and they do not know how the children will fare for the opening of the school term.

When told of the plight of the family, Minister of Social Development Glenn Ramadharsingh said he intended to visit the family and analyse their needs.

Anyone who is willing to assist can contact the family at 309-5283.

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