02 August 2006
by Zabidi Ishar
Tampat, Malaysia: The man is neither an elected representative nor a welfare officer but fellow villagers look for him whenever they need his services.
What makes polio-stricken Roslan Ismail being courted by villagers in his district?
The reason is wherever this man goes, he never fails to help those in need or are physically handicapped like him.
Roslan, whose lower limbs were deformed as he was born a poliomyelitis victim, is always seen with a pouch which contains Social Welfare Department-issued forms for the registration of the physically handicapped.
The 34-year-old bachelor from Kampung Pulau 100 is frequently seen travelling around Tumpat villages, looking out for physically- and mentally-disabled people who need help from the department.
Despite being taunted and sneered at by some people, he continues with his work which he sees as his sincere contribution to the needy and disabled.
"I am sincere in extending out a helping hand as they (handicapped villagers) need some kind of assistance. For those who have yet to be registered with the Social Welfare Department, I will help them fill up the necessary forms before submitting them for its immediate attention," he said.
"I pity the poor and those who have disabled children. They do not know who to ask for help and that there are agencies like the Social Welfare Department that can help them," Roslan told Bernama at his village house, here recently.
Roslan said he had managed to assist more than 15 physically-handicapped people to get monthly assistance from the department in the past three years.
He is also a familiar face with the local print and electronic media as he has regularly approached newsmen, asking them to highlight the plight of the poor and handicapped.
Among them are the children of a family who suffer from a nervous disorder in Kampung Kok Keli here.
The children's suffering caught the public's attention after Bernama came out with a report and this brought the nation's private television station TV3 to air an episode on them in their hit programme "Bersamamu" the end of last year.
Roslan had also gone to the assistance of other chronic disease sufferers who needed financial aid like three-year-old Md Aiman Nabil, Safiyyah Khadijah Iskandar, 2, and Nurnesa Uzma Mohd Ezani, 2, who suffered congenital liver problems, and hole-in-heart boy, Mohamad Amir Azlen, 10, by distributing leaflets on their plight to the public.
"Several of these patients had died but I feel contented that at least I had managed to assist them in my own way," he said.
Roslan, the eight of nine siblings, is taking care of his old parents who are crippled after stroke attacks.
His mother Khalijah Adam, 71, is suffering from a severe case of high blood pressure and after a stroke two years ago, she became paralysed, while his 77-year-old father Ismail Awang, suffered the same fate five months later.
"My mother is slowly recovering but my father is still bed-ridden and is undergoing traditional treatment," he said.
Roslan is also taking care of his 39-year-old brother Mohd Asri who is suffering from a mental disorder since the age of 12.
"But all these have not dampened my resolve to be independent," he said.