For the past week I’ve been using my facebook account to look for additional sponsors to cover the educational needs of some children of our PLHIVs. After visiting them at their homes to assess their situation, I finally managed to compile a list of additional children needing help.
Before the additional children whom I’ve just recently included in the list, we already had 21 children already sponsored. We now have an additional 12 names. Within the past week, I’ve managed to find sponsors for 8 of them. That leaves another 4 needing sponsorship, in addition to another child who was sponsored for this year, but needs a new sponsor for next year in view of the fact that the old sponsor is no longer contactable.
So far none of the children from the earlier list had been dropped out for whatever reasons. Yes, there were some slight disciplinary problems with one or two of the kids, but they seem to be doing better now. Sometimes the problem lies not with the children themselves, but the parents. It’s not easy for us to really monitor that the money is actually used for the educational needs of the children, but we’d still try our very best.
The 21 children that had been sponsored so far?
4 of Fuzi’s children are schooling, and all 4 sponsored by 3 different sponsors. Her 2 older girls are doing quite well in school, in fact, Wina, the eldest is one of the top students in her class. She’s sitting for her PMR this week. Her 2 boys are average students, but seem keen to go to school. Although Hafiz, Fuzi’s 3rd child, had at one time caused all sorts of problems due to his wrong choice of friends, nowadays he seldom goes out with his friends in the neighborhood.
Valli’s 2 sons are rather disciplined and doing quite well in school.
Shila’s daughter Laila, is also an average student, but had always been eager to go to school. Although Shila herself had given up on hospital appointments and ARV medication, thank goodness she hasn’t given up on her daughter’s education.
Then there’s Hana’s 2 girls. I have to be a bit careful with Hana as sometimes she tends to do that muka kesian of hers saying tak cukup duit, duit belum masuk etc. I always need to remind her that the sponsorship is only for her children’s educational needs and doesn’t cover other household needs. Her kids too, if it was up to them, would ask for this and that, but no, we cannot be too giving. We do want to help them for their future, not to pamper them.
Another sponsored child is Pushpa, HIV+ orphan who stays with the grandmother. Pushpa doesn’t seem to be doing too well in school, but we still need to stress to her on the importance of education.
Out of Wani’s 2 sons, the older one who has hearing problems, needs to go to a special school a bit far from their home and as such involves higher bus fares. But with the sponsorship programme, Wani doesn’t have too worry too much about it. Her younger son is doing OK in an ordinary school.
Lin, another client of mine, has 6 children; and although only the younger 2 are still schooling, the older 3 are still studying in higher learning institutions while the no. 4 who sat for his SPM in 2009, did not go for further studies. Instead right now he is doing odd jobs. None of the older children are able to help out Lin financially yet, so Lin’s 2 younger children, a boy and a girl, still need assistance for their schooling. The 2 are average students in school. I have not been able to get hold of the son’s sponsor though, and so I will need to source for a new sponsor for him.
Meng Lan’s only daughter is in form 4 this year. I don’t get much updates from this family since Meng Lan’s buddy doesn’t update me frequently, but the latest I heard was that the daughter is beginning to feel lazy to go for tuitions etc. I’m not really sure what the problem is all about. I’d better get the buddy to follow up.
Another family who has been involved in our sponsorship programme is Sofie’s. 2 of her 4 children had been sponsored since last year (I couldn’t get enough sponsors then). Alhamdulillah, during the past week, I managed to get sponsors for the other 2 as well. The boys need to be reminded often about the importance of education for the future, but Sofie’s youngest girl, has been very enthusiastic in school. In addition, she’s also a fast learner when it comes to reciting the holy Quran. Now the family has moved to a new place, she’s asking if there’s a sekolah agama rakyat nearby.
Another child who started receiving financial aid under this programme is from an orang asli family. I’ve never met Wan or her son personally, as they stay in a kampong not accessible by car. I will have to check with Wan’s buddy who usually meets up with her in the nearby town to get updates.
Another family getting sponsored this year is Aini’s family. Her 3 children are all in secondary school. The eldest, a girl, is in form four this year and had opted for a vocational school after a poor showing in last year’s PMR. But she proved that she made the right choice when she started showing excellence, even getting awards from the school. Aini’s 2nd son is doing okay in school, while the youngest son, seems to be more interested in co-curricular activities.
Those are the 21 children sponsored this year. With 12 additional children for next year, there should be 33 children sponsored by the next schooling year. As it is, I’ve got sponsors for 8 of them already, so I now need to look for 5 more sponsors – 4 for the balance from the new list, and 1 for Lin’s son, whose old sponsor is no longer contactable.
The important thing is, no matter what the circumstances are, these children must not be deprived of basic education at the very least. Of course, we always tell them that the sponsorship will be revoked if they are caught using the sponsorship for things other than their educational needs. And in this respect, I have to admit, I am a bit strict with the children and their guardians. Besides, it’s not my money I’m handling, it’s the sponsors’ money entrusted to us to be used for the children’s educational needs!