On a rainy Saturday afternoon last weekend, I made my way to a quiet house in PJ which housed homeless kids under the Shelter Organization.How I ended up there that afternoon is a whole other story.
One of my friends gave me a call one day and met up to tell me all about the Shelter Organization and the work they were doing. He wanted to see if we could use blogs as a medium to help spread the word about what Shelter really is about and I was open to the idea.
So I paid a visit to the Shelter home to meet one of the people behind Shelter. His name is James Nagayam.In the afternoon that I was there, James shared with me many things that were alien to me until I set foot in that home.
Lots of people think that Shelter homes are for kids that have lost their parents at a young age. While that is true... that is only half the story. Many of the kids that need help today are migrants who are unable to study or work in this country, kids who have no birth certificates meaning they technically don't exist and aren't allowed to live a normal life and most importantly abused and sexually abused children.
I'm going to start with the migrant population.
The registered migrant population in Malaysia currently is at 2.6 million. Now there are NO refugee camps in Malaysia, that means refugees in Malaysia are scattered all over the country with most of them in Klang Valley sharing spaces in groups of up to 20 people near construction sites or low cost apartments. Now here's the question.... what's gonna happen to these people if they can't go to school or work. Sooner or later... the only other means of finding a living is... through crime right?
Abused and Sexually Abused Children
Many children are not as lucky as many of us when we were growing up. Sure my Dad beat the hell out of me when I was growing up as a kid, but after he knew he had taught me my lesson he would come back and give me all the compassion I needed as a kid.
These parents who beat their children beat them till kingdom come and leave them on their own to lick their wounds.
That doesn't even bring up the sexually abused children problem!
James told me that when you talk to any of the sexually abused children who were 3-5 years old and show them a doll asking them where their father had touched them, they would point at the right places.
Kids in Prison
Then there are the kids in our prison.
Currently there are about 2,700 young prisoners in prison all over Malaysia, about 700 of them along are in Kajang Prison.
In Malaysia, a child can go to prison as long as he's 10 years old.
10 YEARS OLD!!! How could they have known any better!!
About 8 girls go missing a day. That means 240 a month and 2,880 a year! Now 2,880 is the student population of my entire secondary school.
Where do all these girls go? Many to child prostitution rings. How sick is that!
While many of us grow up with ice-cream, toys and barbie dolls for the girls, these girls grow up in brothels.
Heck I met one child there who was left at the home by his parents because his parents owed Ah Long's a great deal of money and wanted to give him protection.
Another child had lost both his parents at a very young age and now only relies on the volunteers at Shelter for compassion and love.
The people at Shelter have taken in all these unfortunate kids and done their very well in putting them in comfortable homes.
These are kids that have as much promise as all of us had when we were their age.
Kids that are smart and creative. Just look at what they did here.
They built a house with just plastic forks, combs and sponges.
And just like me when I was young, they had little comic stickers all over their cupboards.
and enjoyed putting on bunny ears on their elders when they were having pictures taken.
When I hear all these stories.
I want to be able to help and sure I don't have millions now to donate so I'm gonna do whatever I can with the readership my thousands of readers have blessed me with and shed some light on these issues.
In this entry, I am hoping to educate, not solicit eventhough Shelter's funds are audited. If any of you want to help out whether in terms of monetary means or volunteer work you can pay a visit to Shelter's website here.
For the rest of you, just think about these issues over this weekend. Issues that we can't ignore because it's happening in our own backyard.
And issues that one day will affect our way of life.