“I like to go to school because I can gain knowledge,
secure a job and provide for my dad in the future.”
Aiman is a student at the Titingan Community Learning Centre. Last year, when Tzu Chi held a large-scale free clinic in Tawau, he led the medical team to his home to see his bedridden father, Masdari.
His father had an accidental fall three years ago and has since been paralysed from the waist down. He never went to see a doctor and only treated his condition like a stroke, with medications the family bought from a pharmacy. However, as the medications did not seem to work, he gave up on them a month later.
Masdari has nine children. Three of them are working elsewhere, while the rest stay with him and his wife in a wooden hut of less than nine square metres. With Masdari confined to bed, the family lost their sole breadwinner. To support the family’s livelihood, Masdari’s wife, Linna, works as a domestic helper and takes up odd jobs occasionally, such as helping to do the dishes for banquets held in the village.
Speaking of Aiman, her fifth child who is thoughtful, well-behaved and filial to his parents, Linna could not help but shed tears. Aiman was only nine years old when the mishap befell his father. To help make ends meet, he and his siblings would collect recyclables for sale. The thought that her children cannot attend school due to their statelessness and instead, have to work to support their living, overwhelmed the mother; she felt sorry for her children. She shared, “I always think that education is very important. I hope that my children can find good jobs in the future.”
She revealed, “Although Aiman is attending school (the Learning Centre) now, he still works as a manual labourer at the wet market during the weekends.”
Aiman, who is keen to learn, would take care of his studies without having his parents to worry about him. He would do his revision after class, and even take the initiative to teach his younger siblings. There was even once he ranked first in his class. He said, “I like to go to school because I can gain knowledge, secure a job and provide for my dad in the future.”
On a shelf in their house are many trophies which Aiman collected from heaps of discarded items. They serve as a motivation for him to achieve his dream of receiving his own trophy on stage one day.✿✿