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)
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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The Talk and the 2 year old hiv+ girl

I think it has been quite a while since I was last invited to give a talk to school students. There was an enquiry last year but after that the teacher who called me did not follow up.

So a few weeks ago, when a teacher from a nearby school called me to ask if I’d be able to give a talk to the students of her school, and I said yes, immediately I rummaged through my powerpoint files to choose one suitable for an all-girls school. I realised then that my slides were mostly not updated, especially on the HIV/AIDS statistics.

This morning, accompanied by 2 other volunteers, off I went to the school, which so happened to be the same school where I casted my vote during the recent GE13. I don’t usually mind going alone, but I was told before hand that the number of students attending the talk would be around 300, and so I figured I may need some assistance by one or two of my fellow volunteers. I am also hoping that by following me during my talks, one day they’d be able to give similar talks in future.


The talk went well. The girls seemed attentive enough. Oh of course there were some who weren’t paying attention and a few who may have dozed off during the talk, but overall, the girls did listen. And at the end of the talk, when I started asking questions (to see if they understood whatever I explained during the talk), even the sleepy ones were wide awake. Why? Because I took out small soft toys to give away to those who could give correct answers.


Immediately after the talk (and after being served some light refreshments), I headed straight to the hospital for my clinic duty. I was told there were supposed to be 2 new cases, but I waited and waited and waited… no cases were referred to me. Nearing noon, I went over to the doctor’s room, and the nurse told me that the 2 new cases did not turn up.

Just as I was about to leave, SN told me that Mar had just left their room. Ah yes, Mar. Her 2 year old daughter had recently been diagnosed hiv+ and today was her appointment at the paediatric clinic.

I called Mar. She didn’t answer the phone. Just as I was about to get to the staircase to go down, I met up with Mar. She just came out of the pharmacist’s room, getting some counselling about her daughter’s medication.

We then walked down together, met the little girl, and I gave the girl a Buddy Bear. She was thrilled! And I was happy seeing the little girl’s expression, although deep down inside me, it hurts knowing that the innocent 2 year old has to live with HIV all her life.

I’ll definitely be following up on this girl’s developments.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Good news, bad news

After finding out about the needs of Fuzi’s daughter before the girl goes to a matriculation college later this month, I informed the girl’s sponsor about it. For the record, our sponsorship programme only covers schooling expenses, not further education. But the girl’s sponsor had told me personally before this to inform her should there be any other needs for the girl, although the sponsorship programme is over for her.

As mentioned in my previous posting, within a few hours after updating the girl’s needs on my facebook page, I managed to get RM755 from donors to help the girl out. The amount was enough to cover for the girl’s registration, the family’s transportation to send the girl to the college and to buy the girl’s personal necessities.

The girl still needed a laptop for her studies. I had told her earlier I’d try to find a 2nd hand computer. Then came the good news…. her sponsor finally replied my email, agreeing to transfer a certain amount of money as reward for the girl’s excellent performance for her SPM. The sponsor did specifically mention that she hoped the girl would use it to buy a computer. And when the amount came in, it was more than enough to the girl a brand new laptop.

This morning, after getting the computer from a computer shop, I headed straight to Fuzi’s house to deliver the laptop to the girl. When the girl saw me carrying the box, plus 2 plastic bags of free gifts (computer bag, mouse, coooler), she exclaimed, “Ya Allah! Makcik beli baru ke?! Mesti mahal ni!” I told her it was a reward from her sponsor for the excellent SPM results. The girl was pleasantly surprised. Although I didn’t come up with the money to help this girl and her family out, somehow I felt the satisfaction seeing this girl on her way to a brighter future, insyaaAllah.

Later today when I was at home, I suddenly remembered the family I went to visit in late April… Mar and her family. After Mar’s husband was diagnosed HIV+, Mar got herself tested and found out she was +ve as well. Then all her 3 children were tested. The results weren’t out yet when I went to visit. I wasn’t too worried about her 17 and 19 year old daughter, but as mentioned in my posting about that visit, I was worried about Mar’s 2 year old daughter. I was still hoping the little girl would be spared from the virus.

Today when I called, coincidentally, Mar just got home from Ipoh. She was in Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun earlier in the day, at the paediatric clinic, to be exact, with her youngest girl. Paediatric clinic? Uh oh… bad news??

Indeed. The little 2 year old girl too was confirmed to be HIV positive. :(

Friday, 10 May 2013

More house visits

When Fuzi’s daughter called to seek my advice about whether she should accept the offer to a matriculation college, I knew I’d have to pay them a visit. The decision whether to accept or not wasn’t the only problem they have. Financial problem would be the other.

I had advised the girl to accept the offer. The girl’s interest is in accounting and the matriculation offer was for accounting line. By the time I went to visit the family on Wednesday morning, she had accepted the offer online and printed out all the necessary. But nothing further was done. Quite a number of things were needed but they had yet to do anything because they needed money. They needed:

1. RM480 for registration, to be banked in before she registers on 27th May.

2. More baju kurung as the girls are only allowed to wear baju kurung in class at the college. This family seldom goes out for any functions or whatever, and so she only has a few pairs.

3. Transportation for them to go to the matriculation college to send the girl, and for her mother to travel back home.

4. Pocket money for the girl for the first month at least, before she starts getting her allowance.

5. A notebook/netbook computer for the girl to use for her studies. A second-hand one would do.

Somebody had donated RM200 to me to be given to any of my PLHIV families, and so I gave that money first to the girl to enable her to start buying whatever necessary. The moment I got home, I updated this info on my FB wall, and within a few hours I managed to collect RM755 to help them out. At least her registration fee and pocket money are covered. For the record, our Children Education Fund & Education Sponsorship programme only covers schooling expenses, not further education. And so I had to seek help for this girl using my personal capacity, not through Buddies.

This morning I went to visit Lin. It’s been quite a while since I last went to visit her at home. She was alone at home – none of her children were around. The eldest now works in KL, the second is in her final year overseas, the 3rd was at work, the 4th stays with his friends, the 5th now has a temporary job while waiting for the results of his application to IKM, and the 6th was in school, now in form 4.

With none of her children around, Lin could speak openly to me about her problems. No longer bothered by her ex-husband, Mr Darling, Lin’s problem now is her youngest daughter, the 16 year old. The girl seems to get more and more stubborn each day, and Lin’s main worry is that she likes to go out with boys. She’s supposed to go to school by bus, but since the bus picks them up at the end of the road instead of right in front of the house, Lin usually doesn’t go out to check. She took for granted her daughter would take the bus, otherwise how else was she supposed to get to school? But her brother once saw a boy picking her up on a motorbike to send her to school. There were a few other instances when the brother saw his younger sister in town on a motorbike with a boy. Every time Lin scolded her daughter, the girl always answered back.

I am however happy about the change in Lin’s 5th child, the boy who sat for his SPM last year. He was really never into the academic line, and so all he was interested to do after his SPM was to find a job. But his interest had always been in welding, and so I suggested to him to take up welding as a proper course at any of vocational training colleges/institute. At first he was a bit reluctant, but after his older sisters joined in to coax him, he now seems very determined to take up a proper course in welding, applied for a certificate programme, and already thinking about continuing up to diploma level after he completes his certificate level course. Now, that’s progress enough for me.

After Lin’s house, I headed to Aini’s house. Her eldest daughter so happens to be back home too. Long leave for the polytechnic where the girl is continuing her studies now. Aini had lost weight. She used to have about the same weight as mine, but this time she has gone down to only 45 kg. Even the doctor got worried about her weight loss.

The lady who used to pay Aini to take care of her son while she was at work, now has quit her job to be a stay-at-home mom, and so Aini no longer gets an income from taking care of the boy. She now is looking around for anything to do, just to enable her to get some extra income for her family in addition to the monthly welfare aid she gets. I asked her if she’d like to sew our Buddy Bears for a minimal payment. You see, the couple who had been making the bears for free all these years are getting older, and we haven’t got any contingency plans in case the couple decides to stop making the bears. So during our last Board meeting, we agreed to try and get any of our clients to sew the bears for us, for a minimal amount. That way not only do we get another source to get the Buddy Bears  done, we also get to help our clients to earn some extra income for themselves.

Aini seemed very interested. She gets something to do, gets paid for it, and the best part is she doesn’t have to leave home to do so.

Let’s see how it goes.