When our Education Sponsorship for Children started off in 2008, 9 children from 5 families became the first batch to be considered and approved for the said program. An additional 7 children from 4 families were approved in 2009, bringing the total to 16 children.
Applications for the program then slowed down a bit as most of the children from poor families were already under the program. Other children not covered by the Sponsorship, but need help at the beginning of each schooling year would be covered by our Children Education Fund (CEF).
However, in March this year we had an application from an Orang Asli child, and I managed to get a sponsor by highlighting the matter through my facebook page. That brought the total of sponsored children to 17.
Then last week, a fellow volunteer called to ask if we could get financial help for Aini. Aini had been our client for 3 years now. When her case was first referred to us, her husband was still alive, but his health condition was already very poor. He died not long after the case was referred to us.
Aini was then still working as an assistant at a pharmacy. With 3 school-going children, life was tough, but she survived without having to seek financial help from others. We still covered for her children’s back to school expenses for the next 2 years.
However since more than a year ago, the pharmacy where Aini was working at closed down and Aini was out of a job. She tried applying for jobs here and there but was unsuccessful. In her 40’s, and with HIV, it wasn’t easy for Aini. She ended up taking care of a neighbour’s child at her home, getting paid RM200 per month. With that income, she pays her house rental of the same amount. In addition she’s also getting Welfare Aid of RM300 per month which she depends on to pay for food, utilities and bus fares.
Of late, Aini had been having pains at her hips and checks later revealed that she had a minor fracture. In addition she had been having kidney problems for some time already, and is on medication (not on dialysis).
Although it had been a year since she lost her job, Aini tried her utmost best to support her children without having to seek help elsewhere… probably surviving on her savings.
However of late she had become more desperate as she found it hard to ensure there was enough food for the children. Which was why her buddy finally sought my help. After listening to Aini’s problems, I figured we could consider her children for our Education Sponsorship program.
And so this afternoon, her buddy brought me and 2 other colleagues to visit Aini at home to assess her situation.
Since Aini and her children are regulars at our annual Family Day for the past 3 years, when we visited today, we didn’t really need to be introduced. Even her children knew us already. So we were just there to ask her more of her latest developments… her income… her expenses… etc. And we could clearly see she had difficulty walking. She needs to go to the hospital at least once a week for physiotherapy – and given her condition, going up and down public busses is not advisable. So she has to take a taxi, which would usually charge her RM8 one way.
So yep, to us, her 3 children definitely qualifies to be considered for the sponsorship program. And it’s good that the children loves going to school. I told the children that if we are able to get sponsors for them, they would need to report to this “gurubesar” (yours truly) as well on their progress in school, so that I can report to the sponsors.
When I got home today, I immediately highlighted the matter again on my facebook page, and I have now got sponsors for Aini’s 11 year old son and 16 year old daughter. Still looking for one more sponsor for her 13 year old son…