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”.

No comments: