On International Women’s Day (March 8th) let us celebrate this gutsy woman who, despite severe physical disabilities, wants to continue working for a living for herself and her school-age son.
If you happen to be in the area in Menglembu, you might see a differently-abled person selling flowers under a makeshift umbrella along the main road of Taman Kledang.
Karnagi A/P Naguran, an orphan, spent her childhood living with her relatives in Lawan Kuda, Gopeng estate. She overcame abuse and ill treatment, until she met with an accident at the age of 16, one involving spilling of boiling water on both her legs which had caused severe burns and scalding.
Her misfortune continued when a similar incident occurred only two years later, where she had a big pot of curry spilled on her while she was trying to carry it.
However, she was unable to seek treatment for any of the incidents. With zero access to physiotherapy, the untreated burns worsened and eventually led to muscle degeneration. When she moved to Ipoh to work as a house maid at age 23, the condition had spread to her arms, causing her to gradually lose mobility in all her limbs.
Trying her best to make ends meet, Karnagi, now 48 years old, is still fiercely strong-willed and determined, and has been selling flowers for 10 years. Karnagi has difficulty standing up or lifting her arms and is fully dependent on a wheelchair, yet she perseveres through the challenges thrown at her.
She gave birth to her son when she was 36 and has raised him single-handedly. Her now 13-year-old son helps her out, both at home and at work. All she wants is to provide a roof over their heads and for her son to be able to enjoy the privileges of a teenager.
“My son is my biggest motivation; he keeps me going despite all my hardships. Unfortunately, I can only open my stall at 5pm after his school finishes.
“He goes to school at SJK(T) Menglembu in the afternoon session. He would wheel me there in a wheelchair and help set up the stall. Besides, he also assists me with bathing as well as managing some household chores,” she said.
Unfortunately, her plight did not end. In 2019, her son was hit by a car while crossing the road, then spending about two months in the ICU, bedridden due to brain hemorrhage. The boy is well now, but they are barely surviving as Karnagi’s monthly expenses including house rental, utility fees and her son’s schooling fees add up to approximately RM1000. She makes very little sales out of her flower business, with a RM30 take home per day.
NGOs, namely the Perak Women For Women Society (PWW) and Perak Social Welfare Department, provide her with a monthly support of daily necessities and cash, as a way to ease her struggles.
Karnagi hopes that the community would lend a hand in giving her aid in any form, be it cash or daily necessities such as a mattress, flowers (to sell), a rubber ramp for the doorstep, adult diapers and a motorised mobility device which would allow her to start her selling earlier in the day without waiting for her son to return from school.
She hopes that kind people will help her raise enough funds for a mobility aid.
The video below shows how difficult it is for her to be put onto her wheelchair. She then has to be physically pushed to the spot where her stall is set up.
Anyone out there with ideas on assisting this lady with such fighting spirit, please contact PWW through the phone at 05-2469715 or email them at email@example.com.
The PWW shop is located at 15 Jalan Market 30000 Ipoh. The shop opens from 10am to 3pm daily.
Readers who would like to contribute directly may reach Karnagi at 011-6157072 or donate to the BSN account 08234-41-00001587-5.