When Fuzi's case was first assigned to me 10 years ago, I thought it was just another simple case of a HIV+ single mother needing financial assistance for her children. Boy, was I wrong!
Well yes, she did need financial assistance but her problems were nowhere near simple. Fuzi, an Indonesian, married a Malaysian man, in southern Thailand. Fuzi, being naive, totally depended on her husband on matters pertaining to registration of their marriage, and when told that there was no problem whatsoever, she believed him blindly. The fact was, their marriage was never registered in Malaysia, even after 4 children. There wasn't any issue when the husband was still around, but problems started to surface after the husband passed away.
First, an intruder broke into their house, and raped Fuzi. Fuzi got pregnant, and it was during this pregnancy that she found out she had HIV. Initially she thought she got infected when she was raped, but after the children got tested, it turned out her 4th child (the youngest from her marriage) was also infected, which meant Fuzi had been infected earlier when her husband was still around! It was then that Fuzi told me her husband used to frequent southern Thailand although she never really asked why he went there. Her husband probably died not even knowing that he was HIV+.
Thank goodness the hospital accepted her Narathiwat-issued marriage cert, so she didn't have to pay for her HIV treatment, by virtue of being married to a Malaysian. But everything else was so problematic. Her older children, although born to a Malaysian father, had problems when they wanted to get their MyKad done. You see, people don't ask questions if their father took them to Jabatan Pendaftaran, but since their father had died by the time they reached 12 years of age, Fuzi was the one who took them to JPN. And since she's not a Malaysian, her children weren't able to get their MyKad done. Thank goodness, after going in and out of various offices, that matter was finally settled. She somehow managed to legalise her marriage cert and the 4 children from her marriage were able to get their MyKad once they reached 12 years of age. Only thing was, their uncle (their father's brother) had to accompany them to JPN to get their MyKad done, and each time Fuzi had to pay him to do so.
The only problem left was her 5th child who was born without a father. With father's details stated as "unknown" in his birth cert, and his mother an Indonesian, the boy didn't have any citizenship. Neither her nor there. Not accepted as a Malaysian, and not registered as an Indonesian either. Fuzi has tried various methods, asked various people to help out. She tried applying for PR status, so that the boy could at least go to school (albeit paying a higher fee), but every time her application was rejected because by the time she applied, she was already a widow. Now she needs to renew her visa regularly to enable her to stay in Malaysia legally.
A couple offered to legally adopt the boy on paper, with Fuzi still taking care of him, so that they could register him to a school. It was initially approved, but when a nosey neighbour reported the matter to JKM, officers from JKM did a spot-check and found out the allegations to be true, the adoption immediately became void. And with that, the boy still can't go to school.
Someone (from JPN no less) suggested to Fuzi to get her eldest daughter to adopt the boy legally when she (the daughter) turns 21. They tried to submit the application when the girl turned 21 (she's 22 this year) but was then told she'd have to be married before she could do so. Hadoii... how lah?
The boy is 11 this year, and he is still unable to go to school because of all these issues. But that's about the only major problem this family has right now.
Fuzi's eldest daughter is already in university and is expected to graduate next year. I told Fuzi, once her daughter gets a job, get her to apply again for legal guardianship of the boy. Probably her earlier application was rejected because she herself was still studying. At least with a job and a fixed income, her application may be considered.
Although Fuzi's other children aren't academically inclined, the #2 and #3 are now working. The #3 boy used to give all sorts of problems to Fuzi when he was in school, getting in trouble all the time, playing truant, smoking cigarettes, accused of stealing, quit school in form 4, etc. But the moment he got himself a sales related job in another state, away from the friends he had been hanging around with earlier, he became a totally different person. He's a more responsible person now.
Fuzi's #4 child, the one who is HIV+, is in form 3 this year. He is under our sponsorship programme, so his educational needs are covered. Well yes he has HIV, but I know of another child born with HIV who went on to further her studies after SPM, so this boy should be able to do the same if he really wants to.
So yes, overall this family's situation has indeed improved a whole lot. But I do sincerely hope the youngest boy's issues can be resolved soon. The poor boy...