Monday, March 22, 2010

Jumble Station meets Daybreak

Jumble Station recently took a trip up north in Ipoh to meet with Daybreak an organisation that helps disabled adults and youngsters to master news skills. The purpose was to see how Jumble Station could get its single parents to earn extra cash while working from the comfort of their own home.

So there we were, single mum Suhaibah, single dad, Adrian, tailor Melini and yours truly headed northwards in a little Kelisa at 9am and arrived at the tin mining town around 12 noon. Once there we were met by Daybreak staff Danielle, Yoong and Ruth who took us off to a hearty mamak lunch and where we first made the acquaintance of Daybreak founder Datuk Sandra.

Datuk Sandra pioneered Daybreak through its many challenging years, 18 in all and was very keen to collaborate with other NGOs on mutually beneficial deals that would enable both parties to leverage on each other’s resources and skills. For former fashion designer Adrian it was easy as pie for him to teach the handicapped workers the art of beading but getting a few of them to really follow his beading pattern was tougher. What’s interesting to note is that there are many handicapped folks who are sewing from home for Daybreak and coming into the headquarters only when the need for additional training is needed or when visitors drop by to have a visit.

Meanwhile, Melini and Sue were taught the simple art of stitching an outline of a pattern thereby allowing for the pattern concerned to have a raised surface to closely resemble the quilting process. This was so easy to do that the duo mastered it pretty fast and expressed an interest in teaching others once they get back to Jumble Station.

Datuk Sandra then said that Daybreak would be happy to take any and all stitched pattern quilting that our single mothers could deliver but Adrian shared his view that it might be better for the single parents to learn to sew something more creative and thereafter sell them for a higher price. This proposal was accepted with alacrity by Datuk Sandra and the work done by JS single parents will be paid according to the grade of work achieved, with A being the highest and C, the most mediocre.

Before heading back to Kuala Lumpur we stopped by to have a delicious dinner – chicken with bean sprouts and topped that off by buying two boxes of chicken cooked in salt, yummy! Our stomachs filled to the brim, our next task was to identify the single parents capable and creative enough to participate with JS in this beading and quilted project. Meantime, we shall wait and see who among the many single parents on our list, will show the most interest.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

One may be a single father through biological means or through circumstances. Take Adrian for instance. A well known fashion designer among the Malay fashionista crowd once, he became an unintentional single father when the couple who rented a room in his flat at Angsana left behind their eldest child in his care when they chose to go back to their kampong with their second newborn daughter who was sickly.

Adrian personally took care of the little Joey and the two bonded as a family until she was 7 years old and ready for school in 2008. Her parents came back and took her back with them so that she could help take care of her younger siblings. Adrian who had never officially adopted Joey was shattered by the separation and as a result could not focus on his fashion design work. He lost his job, had his car taken away, was threatened with eviction by his landlord for failure to pay rent, had not eaten for 3 days and tried to commit suicide twice. He was a broken and beaten man when he came to Jumble Station.

Today he helps to manage Jumble Station’s outlets, drives a van to collect items and gets to see his little “princess” every school holiday. He is happy except for one thing – Joey had been complaining of pains in her head and an X-ray check showed that she had fluid in her brain that could be life threatening if she didn’t take care.

Adrian sought Dr Jong’s help to learn more about Joey’s condition and was told that at 10 years old, she was still too young to undergo the operation needed to relieve the pressure on her brain. Dr Jong informed a shattered Adrian that once Joey is 12 years old she would need to undergo an operation where a shunt would be inserted to drain the fluid from her brain. There is of course the possibility that the fluid might dry up and simply go away and that would be great for the single father and his little princess. But for now, Joey has to build up her immune system and ensure she never collapses because then it could be very dangerous. If she collapses, that could lead to blindness and brain damage!

Adrian does not have the means to pay for this much needed operation but he now has two years to build up his savings to do just that. This is what is now galvanising him to work hard at building on his fledgling Frontier business so that when the time comes for the operation, he will have the means to give his beloved Joey a new lease of life. Now he realises how with a little help from JS supporters who join Frontierfrenzz ( and are keen to stay healthy, he can generate the extra income to help give her a healthier future.