Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia- 15 Sailors form the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) supported a local shelter for boys in conjunction with Project Handclasp during a recent port visit to Malaysia.
The morning began with a small working party of loading one pallet of medical and hygienic supplies onto a bus heading to the Agathians Shelter in Kuala Lumpur. Upon arrival, the group Sailors was greeted by the staff and young faces at the shelter. The head staff member gave a tour of the shelter grounds to the Sailors, introduced the children and the rest of the staff, and pointed out what areas they needed help with.
The most alarming item was a 25 foot section of collapsed retaining wall from a recent rainstorm on the back side of the property. The damaged wall fell directly onto an open air sewage drain and blocked sewage flow for the shelter and community upstream. The Sailors, with minimal tools but strong determination, were able to break up the concrete wall and clear debris to allow smooth flow of the sewage into the main system. Once the cleanup of the damaged wall was complete Sailors provided cleaning of the grounds and interior of the shelter.
The Sailors also interacted with the children through reading children’s books, playing basketball and soccer, and throwing Frisbees. The group also unloaded the medical and hygienic supplies and presented them to the shelter. To top off the day for the children the Sailors presented some candies as a post lunch sweet snack.
At the end of the day the Sailors said their goodbyes to the children and staff as they provided their thanks for their help. This was a truly heartwarming moment for both parties as lives from two different worlds had been touched on this day.
The Agathians shelter is a privately funded non-profit home which houses 40 children from the ages of 3 to 18 years old.
The shelter has been in operation for 8 years and provides free education and housing to children from broken homes. Once the children complete high school, the shelter also provides them with free college or vocational school education.
The shelters program has produce college graduates in the medical, mechanical, and accounting fields.
Project Handclasp partners with U.S. military commanders overseeing geographic regions, Navy fleet commanders, U.S. embassies, and operating units of all U.S. sea services in its inspiring mission. PH events are coordinated with the cognizant U.S. embassy and country team in host nations, including: the U.S. ambassador, military group commander, defense attaché officer, and/or other appropriate U.S. military representative. The teamwork of PH, U.S. country teams, military staffs, and participating Navy crews is a special vehicle for U.S. theater engagement and goodwill. This American outreach creates amazing benefits in overseas communities worldwide. PH’s scope and value extends far beyond this CNO activity and American partnership enterprise. The life-changing impact on recipients can not be adequately described or measured. The significance for PH participants, donors, and partners is also unparalleled, as is the enhanced perception of the United States in communities around the globe.