After sorting out all the vegetables that I got from Kak Mimi and Rubi during my visit on Monday, yesterday I decided to visit 2 more families staying nearer to Ipoh.
First up was Imah. I had only visited her once, after she called me seeking help. At that time, she was no longer together with her husband, but there was no proper divorce. Whenever she tried applying for help from relevant agencies, she couldn’t prove she was a single mother as there was no document to show that. To support her one and only child, and to pay for her living expenses including house rental, she started selling nasi lemak at a stall near her rented house.
Why didn’t she file for divorce? Well, she intended to. In fact during my first visit, she showed me the relevant forms, all filled up. All she needed to do then was to submit them. BUT… she needed to pay a certain amount when submitting the forms, and since she didn’t have enough money, she just put the matter aside.
Unless and until she had the papers to prove that she’s indeed a single mother, it would be hard for her to apply for financial aid from the relevant agencies. Based on that, I managed to get someone to donate a small amount of cash to help her submit her divorce papers. And so she finally submitted the forms and managed to finalise her divorce.
Yesterday morning when I visited her, she was making some kuih to be sold during pasar Ramadhan. She’d just send her kuih to a few stalls so she herself doesn’t need to spend time selling them. That way, at least during iftar she’d be home with her one and only daughter.
Imah told me Baitulmal has approved some financial assistance for her, by way of paying for her monthly house rental. The cheque will be prepared under the landlord’s name, but Imah herself will need to go to their office every month to get the cheque, after which she will pass the cheque to her landlord. At least now Imah doesn’t have to worry about her house rental. That’s one burden off her shoulders.
Imah’s daughter, now in form 4, doesn’t know that Imah has HIV. Imah doesn’t want her daughter to worry. She wants the girl to concentrate on her studies. I don’t know how long she can keep that a secret though.
After visiting Imah, I went to visit Lin. Remember Lin? Ex-wife of Mr Darling? There were quite a number of her stories during my earlier blogging days. It had been quite a while since my last visit. I used to visit her without fail on a monthly basis, delivering groceries etc because during that time, she was struggling to bring up her children. Divorced, and ex-hubby not consistently giving alimony to support her 6 children, all studying at that time. She found a job as an assistant at a restaurant, then she started selling pisang goreng at somebody else’s stall and in the end after attending a short sewing course with Giat Mara, she started sewing baju kurung so she could work at home.
So why am I no longer visiting her regularly? Because the family is already independent. Her 3 older children (all girls) completed their studies, 2 with diplomas, and one with a medical degree. All 3 are already working, in fact one is already married.
When I got to Lin’s house, I heard the voice of a baby. The baby is Lin’s grandchild. Yes, Lin is already a grandma! It was good to hear updates about Lin’s children.
Number one never managed to get a job relevant to her qualifications, so after moving from one job to another, she has now started her own business, having her own boutique. Didn’t do too well initially, but since she moved to a more strategic place, the business is doing better now.
Number two, the one with medical degree, is now doing her housemanship at a general hospital.
Number three, married, and the mother to Lin’s grandchild, works at a private company.
Number four, a boy, never did too well academically, and had been jumping from one job to another. He is engaged and is expected to get married later this year.
Number five, another boy, also didn’t do too well academically, but after some coaxing, agreed to do a vocational course and seem happy to be doing so now. He is already in his second semester doing a course he likes.
Last but not least, number six, a girl, is now doing form six. Hopefully she will emulate her sisters academically.
Visiting Lin and getting updates about her children reminded me why I like doing this voluntary work. Seeing them succeed in life and getting a better future instead of inheriting poverty from their parents, makes me a happy person. Hopefully the other families who are still struggling right now, will also have a happy ending like Lin’s.