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, 29 April 2015

To help or not to help?

When a fellow volunteer went for clinic duty in Taiping recently, the nurses referred to him a case of a lady needing financial help for herself and her children.

Turned out it was an old case, previously an Ipoh case, transferred to Taiping later after she & her children moved to stay with her parents somewhere north of Perak. And the lady is none other than Yah, who had been quite prominent in my blog postings when blogs were the “in” thing back then.

Yah was telling this fellow volunteer her sad story about losing her job at a factory where she used to work. She also told him that she used to get financial assistance from Buddies previously but that has stopped. She also complained that Buddies are no longer helping out with her children’s educational needs, not even with their uniforms etc.

And my fellow volunteer believed her every word.

Anyway, this volunteer so happened to have a friend working at the factory where Yah used to work. So he called the friend, seeking his help if he could help Yah get her job back. Turned out on Yah’s personnel records, it was written there “NEVER TO BE HIRED AGAIN.” Apparently she had been giving them all sorts of problems.

As for the monthly financial assistance she said she used to get, that was actually from my blog reader, and the money was meant for her to support her children. But those who have been following my blog may remember that at one time, Yah was flirting around with men and her 2 older children opted to stay at an orphanage while the younger 2 were taken care by their grandparents. So the donor stopped banking in the monthly contribution to Yah’s bank account. I would too if I were the donor.

As for her complaint that Buddies is no longer helping with her children’s educational needs, just a few months ago, I was there with her and her children for their back-to-school shopping and I personally paid (which I later claimed from Buddies of course) for every single schooling needs for all her 4 children. Then later when she informed me about some fees that needed to be paid to the respective schools, the amount was banked in to her account.

Buddies is no longer helping with her children’s schooling needs, did she say? Sigh… here’s another case where client knows that I know every single detail about the help they’ve been getting and so they resort to seeking help from other volunteers who don’t know their stories from scratch.

This is what I don’t like. When they need help, they come up with their sad stories… lost their job lah… no longer getting financial assistance that they used to get lah… BUT of course never disclosing the reasons why they lost their job or why they are no longer getting the help they used to get. And worse, when they claim that they are no longer getting the help that they are actually still getting!

Seriously, they can’t expect financial help from other people all their lives. The help that they’ve been getting was supposed to get them back on their feet, so that they can later become independent. A few however, decided that with the help they’ve been getting from Buddies, it meant they can become dependent on us instead.

And oh, my fellow volunteers need to learn NOT to take the clients’ word for granted. Always double check with the assigned buddies before promising the clients they’d be getting some help soon… especially when it involves financial help.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Break from voluntary work? Can’t stop clients from contacting me…

Having planned for my umrah trip from 4th to 15th April, I had to make sure the monthly pocket money, bus fares and other monthly fees for the children under the Buddies sponsorship program were settled before I went off for my spiritual retreat. With March meeting only held on the 31st, and I needed to wait for the cheque to clear before disbursing the amounts into the various recipients’ account, I actually had just enough time before I left for umrah.

Before I left I only informed the nurses at the Ipoh ID clinic, and a few of my fellow buddies… the ones who most likely would be calling if they didn’t know I was overseas. I didn’t inform any of my clients though… there are simply too many of them.

As always, it’s when you don’t expect them to contact you, that’s when they contact you. I had just arrived at KLIA2 when Aini’s daughter sent me a whatsapp message, with a picture of her mother, in critical condition, at the hospital. I had to tell the girl I was going for umrah and thus, was unable to visit. But I also told her to update me on her mother’s condition. The girl just asked me to pray for her mother. By the time I reached Jeddah and switched my handphone back on, the last message received from the girl was, “Mama tenat.”

And if I thought that would be the last of my clients to contact me during my break, boy was I wrong. Asiah who seldoms contact me, sent me a whatsapp message out of the blues, just to ask “Akak buat apa tu?”. Then came another long lost client, Timah, sending me a text message asking if I still remembered her.

Another text message came in from Maya, this time to tell me that her daughter (who sat for SPM last year) was offered a place at a matriculation college somewhere up north. Good news, finally!

Well, at least this time none of my clients called while I was overseas. I remember when I was in Bali some years ago, Yah called me a few times. I didn’t answer initially, but when she kept calling like it was so urgent, I finally answered… and turned out it wasn’t so urgent after all. Then when I was in Bangkok in 2013, Nuri, who seldom calls, suddenly decided to call.

Well, now I’m back home, but for the moment I will still need to stick to using either whatsapp or SMS to contact people. I was down with sore-throat while in Makkah and have yet to fully recover my lost voice. Guess that means I need a break from talking for the moment. And that means no calls or visits yet.