Remember Fiza? Sofie’s sister-in-law who needed help but since she’s not one of my PLHIV clients I couldn’t help her through Buddies?
Well, when a group approached me wanting to spread some charity to needy families, Fiza came to mind. I couldn't bring others to visit my PLHIV families due to confidentiality purposes, so Fiza’s family to me was the better choice to be recommended to this group.
So yep, after informing Fiza that there’s a group of people coming to visit, we arranged a day for the visit. I had, prior to that, went to visit her with Sofie’s sister (Sofie was supposed to bring me to Fiza’s house, but Sofie was unwell then), bringing along some groceries for her family.
When the group from KL went to visit, I let them ask whatever they wanted to ask. They spoke to Fiza, and they spoke to Fiza’s children. And at the end of the visit, they gave her loads of groceries and some cash as well.
After that visit, Fiza had been calling me a few times asking if any financial aid had been banked into her account. Every time I kept telling her it was not my decision but the decision of the group from KL. But since it was just my number that she had, I was the one she kept on calling every time.
When the group decided to sponsor the educational needs of Fiza’s youngest daughter (the only one who seemed interested to go to school), they banked in the amount into my account for me to disburse to the family as and when needed, I told Fiza that a certain fixed amount would be banked into her account on a monthly basis, and that if there were any additional needs pertaining to her schooling, she’d have to inform me. Fiza stopped calling me after that.
Well, recently Fiza went to Sofie’s house to ask for my phone number. Apparently she had accidentally deleted my number from her hand phone. By this time, Sofie knew that Fiza had been telling lies to people here and there, and she regretted recommending Fiza to me for help. So, Sofie too lied… telling Fiza that I had changed my number and she didn’t have my new number because a new buddy had been assigned to her.
Lies? Yep! Fiza had been using her ‘muka kesian’ to seek help from anybody she could get hold of. She is indeed a single mother… her main source of income does come from rubber tapping… no lies there. So in what aspects did she lie?
1. To every person she sought help from, she told them she’s not getting help from anywhere else. In actual fact, she was getting monthly financial aid from welfare, Persatuan Ibu Tunggal and her boyfriends.
2. What? Boyfriends? Yes, her boyfriends had been backing her financially. Saiful, Sofie’s 12 year old son had a few times caught one of the boyfriends coming out of Fiza’s room when Saiful went to visit. The Persatuan Ibu Tunggal had stopped their financial aid to Fiza the moment they found out about this.
3. She has been telling people she’s not earning much as a rubber tapper because she’s leasing the piece of land where the rubber trees are and she’s got to pay a handsome amount to the landlord. The truth is, the landlord too gave in to her muka kesian. The land would be idle anyway and so as his form of charity to Fiza’s family, whatever proceeds from the sale of rubber would 100% go to Fiza.
4. Fiza told us that whenever she’s unwell, she wouldn’t go out rubber tapping and it would be too dangerous to let her 15 year old daughter go alone. The fact is, sometimes 15 year old daughter and 13 year old son would go instead of Fiza. The 15 year old is already not schooling, the 13 year old would skip school when he goes rubber tapping.
5. Even Fiza’s mother said Fiza doesn’t deserve financial help. The mother did at times when she’s desperate, tried to seek help from Fiza especially when she knew Fiza just managed to get some proceeds from the sale of rubber, but Fiza wouldn’t even depart of RM50 for her mother. Sofie’s 14 year old son sometimes help out during school holidays. For every RM500 weekly proceeds, Fiza would pay the boy RM20.
6. Whenever she has money, Fiza would buy new clothes for herself. Her 15 year old daughter had been complaining to Sofie, whom she calls Mak Long, “Mak tu asyik beli barang untuk dia aje. Jeans lah, t-shirt lah. Kitorang ni tak dapat apa pun Mak Long!” Hmmm… now I wonder if the monthly amount banked into her account, meant for her youngest daughter’s schooling, was used for its original purpose.
7. When Fiza went to Sofie’s house to ask for my phone number recently, she actually told Sofie that other than the groceries I had given her during my earlier visit with Sofie’s sister, there was no other help after that. Even when the group from KL came to visit, Fiza told Sofie that all they did was to look at her house, ask some questions and jot down some details on a piece of paper. Wah! I remember very well they actually brought along a load of groceries and gave her some cash as well! Cheh! Tak mengenang budi sungguh!!
In view of all the above, I had recommended to the group that all financial aid to the family be stopped immediately. I pity her children, but I doubt the money that had been banked into her account were actually used for her children anyway.
Ish, letih dapat orang macam ni…
Since I am more involved with PLHIV families, after this I will no longer recommend non-PLHIV families to anyone since I don’t visit them regularly and I don’t know their background as well as I know my PLHIV clients.
With my PLHIV clients, I am very selective when recommending their children for sponsorship – other than their financial background, I do take into account their attitude as well. Help should only be given to those who want to help themselves improve their lives – not those who intend to make use of kindhearted donors. Which is why until now I have not recommended Mrs K’s children for sponsorship. I know how they go “blind” when they see money. The kids are however, getting assistance for their monthly bus fares through our Children Education Fund, which I’m banking in direct to the bank account of the bus driver, not to Mrs K’s.
I would rather help people like Sofie and Lin, who are both obviously working hard to earn an income even though they do get monthly financial aid. And neither do they come begging when they are short of money. They’d just make do with what they have. And with their children treating me like family instead of “someone to seek help from”, sejuk sikit hati ni…