THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Monday, 31 May 2010

Schooling opportunity

After a three day break from my voluntary work, today I went over to Lin’s house to send this month’s supply of groceries.

And since I wasn’t rushing to go anywhere else after that, today I had ample time to chat with Lin. And so we were chatting about herself and her past.

You know, all the while I thought Lin had at least completed her SPM. She’s quite a smart lady, I must say. The way she handles situations had been quite commendable.

Today I found out that Lin had only completed primary school. Well, she did go to form one for a short while despite her family’s financial difficulties. They couldn’t afford to buy her school uniform, so she used a pinafore handed to her by a neighbour. The pinafore was rather big for her, but having no other choice, she wore it anyway. As for the white blouse underneath the pinafore, Lin wore the same white (but no so white anymore) blouse she had been using in primary school. So there she was, wearing a blouse a few sizes too small and a pinafore a few sized too big.

That wasn’t a problem for Lin. Her problem started when her teacher started asking for the students to pay up their fees. After a while Lin became embarrassed to go to school as she had not paid her fees, and so she stopped schooling ever since. Yep, as simple as that.

She was too young to get herself a job, and so she just stayed home helping her mother. At 17 she started working at a small private soy sauce factory nearby, and at 18 she got married to none other than Mr Darling. And she was an obedient stay-at-home wife, seldom going out anywhere.

So it really amazed me that after her divorce she didn’t just wait for people to come and help her. She went out to find ways and means to earn an income for her family. She wanted her children to go to school despite she herself not having the opportunity to be in secondary school. She saw the importance of education for her children’s future.

Her 3 elder daughters I must say, had been very supportive. Even though they are all still studying in higher learning institutions and cannot afford to help out financially yet, they had always been Lin’s pillars of strength.

Now only her 2 younger children (15 & 13) are at school. And they are both being covered by our sponsorship program and so at least Lin doesn’t have to worry about her children’s schooling needs.

I just hope the children will not waste the opportunity given to them.

The opportunity of going to school is something we tend to take for granted. Let’s not forget that there are people out there who were never given the same opportunity. Let’s make sure people like Lin’s children are not deprived of their rights to go to school. Let’s not just allow them to inherit the poverty their mother inherited from her parents.

Let’s make sure these children go to school and complete at least form 5.


Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Pi,
And it's not cheap going to school too nowadays, right? purrr...meow!

mekyam said...

salam pi!

surely our country is now rich enough to make basic education not only free for all but also mandatory till secondary 5!

Pi Bani said...

Entahlah, so many things they need to pay for now.

Pi Bani said...

Basic education IS free in the sense that school & exam fees tak perlu bayar BUT the schools seem to charge for so many other things now - yuran komputer... yuran PIBG... this club, that club... bla bla bla... last last banyak jadinya. And uniforms apa bagai are not cheap either. So, I think the cost now is much more than during our time dolu-dolu...

Naz said...

True, everybody is trying to capitalize from the *education business* these days.
When I was small (alaaa you all nyer time jugak!), I took 15 sen to school. these days kids take RM3-5 per day. And you look at the kind of food sold and the price level...kesian anak anak!
All the additional fees, the clubs, all the uniforms, etc...further marginalized the less fortunates.

Sometimes I think decision makers kena buat reality check and go back to basics. Banyak issue yang nak kena tengok dulu before it gets really too late.
How could Secondary Two kids not be able to read? How could they (school, teachers) let that happened? How did the kids performed during UPSR? Is anybody paying attention? What are their chances once they've completed compulsory school?

Pi Bani said...

Everything nak dicommercialisekan nowadays it seems. Nak beli things like t-shirts, trackbottom etc pun kena beli kat school co-op, which is definitely more expensive than buying outside.

The decision makers kena turun padang and see for themselves what's happening on the ground - jangan dok tunggu orang lain hantar report aje...

Tommy Yewfigure said...


Apa ni school co-op jual barang lagi mahal? Cannot lah like this. They SHOULD be a non-profit outfit. The PIBG can run the co-op what, buy with bulk discount directly from suppliers (bypass middlemen) & pass on the saving to the students mah.

I totally agree with always lah...kekeke


Pi Bani said...

Things become expensive when they are specially ordered - nak specific design lah, nak put logo lah, badge lah etc etc etc.

I don't know what is wrong really... the system or the people! Or both! There don't seem to be enough compassion and discretion...

Al-Manar said...

I stumbled on the address of your ‘home’ from Kak Teh’s blog and was in and out quite a good number of times without leaving a visiting card of sort, and then was distracted away to other homes.. Two weeks ago a medical practitioner representing Sabah in the Medical Council called on us. Her parents have been our friends since early 1960’s in Kota Kinabalu then. In our house she talked with enthusiasm of her voluntary work, giving home to HIV ‘no-hopers’ , cheering them and making them feel that they can still enjoy life in this harsh world, and indeed there are people who care. Listening to her reminded me of Pi Bani. So I have come back and this time I must leave my visiting card. I have looked around and picked on the day you posted something about achievement in education or the failure to achieve something in it. This subject is closer to my heart for which I have devoted my last 16 years with my motto ‘Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan’.(You have chosen ABaqarah 2.215 instead). I know how tiring one can be in doing voluntary work, and how frustrating it is on many, many occasions.
I admire your work, and others performing similar work, and wish you satisfaction and that you be rewarded in whichever you wish it to be. Let us keep doing in our little way what we believe in rather than vehemently expounding theories, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Pi Bani said...

Yes, I believe you'd understand the satisfaction one gets from doing voluntary work. Of course, like you said, it can be frustrating at times, but hey, life has its ups and downs, right?

Anyway, I've never been much of a "theory" person - even back in school for my science subjects, I always did better in practical exams as compared to written exams! So yes, let's just continue doing what works in carrying out our mission - no matter how little it may be.