Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jumble Station’s 1st Mother’s Day celebration

From May 1, Jumble Station was asked by Shelter Home to take over its 3-year old Single Mothers Network group since we’re already doing a good job of it! This is a challenge we were more than willing to take on because it is precisely an integral part of our vision and mission.

This special takeover event will be celebrated on a discreet scale on June 1 2008. JS will be holding a Mothers Day event to get all the Single Parents that are currently under Jumble Station’s care to meet up with some of those who were from the Shelter Home Single Mothers Network.

The event will be held at Hall 3 of Dream Centre which is just next door to Jaya 33 at Section 13/1 Petaling Jaya from 2.30pm - 4.30pm. While we have around 150 Single Parents on our database, only 60 of the poorest among them will be feted on that day, together with their children.

Among the activities to look forward to is the dance performance by the Angsana Residents led by single father Aiman who together with his motley crew will perform the “pocho pocho’ dance and some cha cha to boot. Also in the offing will be some lucky draws, a presentation about Jumble Station and its mission as well as a song or two.

Themed “Mum, you’re my everything” this event aims to recognize the special role and continuing importance of Single Parents as they struggle to keep their family together despite their difficulties. We’re currently looking for donors willing sponsor a ‘draw prize or two’ so that as many of these single mums can go home with a surprise gift.

If you’re interested in assisting Jumble Station in this matter of gifts, do drop us a line at or SMS 016-2202958 …your thoughtful gesture can bring joy to a mother who may not have won a prize in her life – so go on, surprise someone this time around.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Reading maketh ..some kids?

Jumble Station gets lots of books, adults and kiddies type and we’ve discovered that except for the comics and really light reading, the folks at Angsana aren’t a reading lot, not even the little ones.

Many parents have expressed a wish to have their kids learning English but getting tuition teachers, good ones at that is a problem these days, considering the fractured English spoken by the X-generation.

Anyway JS was approached by the Persatuan Penduduk Pangsapuri Angsana to help generate interesting activities that can be conducted at the newly built multipurpose hall. We immediately offered to start an English reading class to help get the youngsters at Angsana familiar with the English language. This is one good way to launch our plan for a Learning Station which will also include a sewing class very soon, hopefully.

Last Saturday was the first class and co-founders Sanice abd Mary Anne together with volunteer Joyce Leong, Jonathan, Aiman and a cameo appearance by Judy Chai kicked off this programme with some 24 little ones.

Sanice taught the 10-12 age group, I took the 5-9 crowd while Joyce gamely took on the tiny tots who knew nothing of ABC. While Sanice put the bigger ones through their spelling phase, I settled for ABC rhymes, a game, a story and finished the session with a rousing Hokey Pokey song simply because many of the kids don’t know what’s left or right as yet!

Customers later came back with some feedback that their kids had thoroughly enjoyed the session, including a few who had been extremely reluctant at first to go for the class and had to be dragged there by their parents. So folks, do keep up the great volunteer effort and lets make it a firm commitment to be at the dewan every Saturday from 2.30pm till 4pm or at least make sure someone is there to substitute if you can’t because what we do today, will have a huge impact on the future of at least one child if not all of them. I know this ‘cos it happened to me!

Monday, May 5, 2008

The dilemma of being a single father….

Society tends to sympathise with Single Mothers far more than a Single Father. Perhaps it is the fact that Single Mothers tend to appear frail, fragile and are rather overwhelmed by the tragedy that puts them in the sad situation that they are in. If the Single Mother is a homemaker, the problem is made worse for now she has to worry about getting an income while keeping the family intact.

Single Fathers on the other hand are expected to be strong, remain the sole and consistent breadwinner and the bulwark of the family unit. To the public, a Single Father should be a lot better off than a Single Mother so one should not waste too much time on them. The reality may be entirely different!

This societal prejudice against a Single Father exists and it can be painful especially if you are illiterate, poor and lack skills. Sandra Babu (pronounced Chandra) is one such case. The father of 9 children, seven of them boys and two girls, their ages ranging from 14 years old to four years, faced this bitter dilemma ever since wife who suffered from asthma died in her sleep last September.

Babu suddenly became a single father to his brood. While his two daughters were sent to live at Shelter Home, the seven boys remain at home under his care. The snag is, the last couple of months have been really tough on him. With no money, uneducated and no real skills, it has been a really a rough transition time for Babu.

Why can’t he just go and get a job, you ask? He could but ask yourself this - what kind of a job will give him enough salary to pay for someone to care for all his 7 boys? Even at RM200 per head (which is the lowest price), he will need to fork out RM1,400 just for a day care minder and what about the issue of food, rental, clothes etc?

For the last 10 years or so, Babu has been working as a lorry driver, renting his sister-in-law’s lorry for RM35 a month and was able to take care of his family needs from whatever he earns as a lorry driver cum buyer and seller of recycle items. However ever since his wife’s untimely death and with the high prices of commodities, he has had been able to rent his sister-in-law’s lorry because they wanted to use it for themselves.

Undaunted, Babu has struggled on by renting other people’s lorry for RM50 each time whenever his regular recycle clients call him to take away their unwanted, recycle items. However the lorry owners naturally will rent to him the lorry for only two to three hours or not at all. This erratic means of income has made it extremely tough on him to earn a steady income while still trying to keep his family intact.

Without a fixed monthly income and no savings at all, no bank was willing to loan him the money to buy his own lorry and with no one willing to stand guarantor for him, his future seemed bleak. Worried sick and discouraged, Babu contemplated suicide but only the thought of leaving his children orphans made him stop.

And then Jumble Station, a community outreach initiative learnt about his situation and stepped into his life. First off, Jumble Station helped to pay off his outstanding rental payments, gave him a monthly sum for groceries, got a Single mother to keep an eye on his kids and finally, loaned him the money to get a lorry of his own.

The lorry is registered under Jumble Station but Babu now has the means and motivation to make something of himself for his children. With a lorry of his own so to speak, Babu now has a brighter hope to excel in what he already knows and is capable of doing.

All he needs now is for the public’s support to use his 1 ton lorry to transport goods within the Klang Valley area (he needs to be home at nights for his children) and to collect recycle items be it paper (Photostat paper, magazines, newspaper etc), metals (rusty or old vehicles wanted as well) and plastic.

Babu will also assist Jumble Station with the collection of big items such as washing machine, fridge, TV, furniture etc that people may want to donate to Jumble Station. However, a minimum fee will need to be paid to help cover the cost of gasoline and to help pay off the loan for the lorry.

So if you or anyone you know has need of a lorry someday do call/SMS Jumble Station (mary anne 016-2202958) and do your part to ensure that this Single Father is able to take care of his family without any more ‘charity’ for that ultimately is what Jumble Station aims to do ‘help one needy single parent’s family at a time”.