Sarawak ID|Register


9-year-old girl missing school to care for blind, single mom to get much needed assistance
Tarikh : 16 Mar 2021  Sumber Berita: The Borneo Post Online

Fatimah (second right) speaking to Nurfatihah during the visit. Also seen is Wan (right). Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (March 13): A Primary 4 pupil who stopped schooling to take care of her blind, single mother can now go back to school as the State Welfare Department (JKM) will send Home Help volunteers to take over.

Nurfatihah Shahmnan, nine, does not want to leave her mother alone in their rented room as her mother also suffers from numerous other health issues and could not take care of herself properly, said Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.

Norlela Bujang, 50, slowly lost her eyesight due to diabetes in November last year. She has completely lost her sight in her left eye in January, while her right eye could only see shadows. She also suffers from swellings on both legs and had an operation on her foot due to diabetes which still requires treatment.

They previously lived in a rented house with Norlela’s friend who has since moved out, and Norlela could not afford to pay full rent for the house.

“We understand why she does not want to go school, because she does not want to leave her mother alone due to her eyesight and health problems. But we feel that it is important that she continues to receive her education,” said Fatimah during a visit to their rented room located at a shophouse at Satok today.

“So the solution is to get volunteers from the JKM’s Home Help to be with the mother and assist in giving the mother medication like insulin and others to relieve her hypertension and cholesterol on time when Nurfatihah goes to school. They will also help clean the place so that she can focus on her studies.”

Fatimah visited the duo’s living quarters with Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) and Welfare Department staff to assess their living conditions.

Looking at their living conditions, Fatimah said their room is accessible by a narrow staircase at the back alley and has 20 steps. The duo were the first renters as the owner had just completed renovating the place recently. The place has 11 rooms and shares one bathroom/toilet.

In the mother and daughter’s room, they faced difficulty during rainy days as they have to shut their windows as there is no awning outside, and rainwater will enter the room. Thus, the room becomes stuffy with no air circulation when it rains.

She said Bomba confirmed that the place was unsafe as there is only one entrance and exit, the living area is partitioned with flammable material and leftover renovation material can be found scattered throughout the place.

“We will see how we can secure a safer place for them to live, even though they have financial assistance with the rent for their current room, it is not safe as the mother is visually impaired.

“JKM has contacted the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and requested that the mother and daughter be given priority in obtaining a residence.”

Their current living area was secured by the Islamic Economic Development Foundation of Malaysia (Yapeim) Sarawak who also helped with transportation to their new home.

Nurfatihah studied at SK Enche Buyong last year and shifted to online learning at the start of the Movement Control Order in March.

She has not registered to continue schooling yet this year as the current school is far from their rented room.

Fatimah said the Education Department is aware of this case and will opt to transfer her to a school closer after they have moved to a better place soon.

During the visit, several organisations were also present to hand over donations, such as the State Welfare Department, Yayasan Sarawak, Tabung Baitulmal Sarawak, Yapiem Sarawak, Hope Place Kuching, Bank Rakyat and Sibu 4X4 Owners Club.

JKM, Yayasan Sarawak, Yapeim Sarawak presented essential items and school related items. Hope Place Kuching presented RM2,000 cash which was raised by a lecturer from University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

Sibu 4X4 Owners Club donated RM10,000 which will be disbursed RM500 monthly for her rent and hospital transportation.

At the same time, Fatimah said that anyone who is interested to help the family to go though the State Welfare Department to ensure the aid reaches them, and the donors don’t get scammed.

“I also told her daughter to be careful, if people want to offer help, she must be careful, in case she is taken advantage of.”

Present were Sarawak Social Welfare Department director Noriah Ahmad and Hope Place Kuching founder Kelvin Wan.


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