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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 11 January 2015 00:00

Emergency Cash Relief for a Single Mother

Written by  Tan Kim Hion, Pahang / Translated by Chew Chiau Ping

Rosliza (left), who rely on sewing to make a living, sought for Tzu Chi’s financial aid to repair her broken sewing machine. [Photograph by Lee Kok Keong]

Rosliza bte Mat Ibrahim, a single mother of five, who lives in Kuala Krau, Pahang, depends on sewing for her family’s livelihood. Unfortunately, the flood destroyed her sewing machine, cutting off her main source of income for three weeks. On January 10, Tzu Chi volunteers learnt of her predicament during a home visit. The following day, they offered emergency cash relief to repair her sewing machine.


 
Life will improve once sewing machine is fixed
 
Upon arriving at a school, volunteer Yeong Kam Lin was seen busily making arrangements. She said, “We have a lot to do today. We need to distribute the relief cash to flood victims who have applied for aid.” 
 
Kam Lin recalled that during a home visit, they came across a forty-seven-year-old Malay lady, Rosliza bte Mat Ibrahim, who is a single mother of five. Her eldest son works in Kuala Lumpur, while the rest are still schooling. Her only source of income is through her sewing that brings in an average of RM300 – RM400. She said, “This sewing machine is my tool in making a living. I can’t work without it.” But, when the flood came, it damaged her sewing machine; and she informed volunteers that she had no money to repair it. After evaluating her situation, Tzu Chi decided to subsidize the repair cost.
 
Concerned about Rosliza’s desperation, Kam Lin decided to hand over the relief cash before the start of the aid distribution and free clinic. Rosliza was happy to see Kam Lin and a few volunteers turning up at her house early in the morning.
 
Even though her house had been cleaned up, the stuff in it had still to be properly arranged; and on the outside, debris and flood-soaked furniture, including the sewing machine, had piled up.
 
Rosliza told volunteers, “When the flood came (on December 24), some villagers offered to carry my belongings onto the lorry, but I only managed to load the refrigerator as the floodwaters rose very quickly and we had to evacuate.”
 
When she returned to her home three days later after the floodwaters subsided, she was shocked to see the place soaked in mud and the floodwaters even broke a hole on the floor. Seeing her mud-covered sewing machine, she started to worry about the money for the repair and for not being able to deliver customers’ orders on time.
 
The hole on the floor also worried her, as she was afraid of animals gaining access to her house or that her family and their belongings would fall through it. All these worries had elevated her blood pressure and gave her sleepless nights. 
 
When volunteers told the distressed Rosliza about the cash-for-work programme, she immediately signed up with her daughter and participated for three consecutive days. She said, “I need the money to repair my sewing machine urgently. Once I can resume sewing, our life will get better.”
 
She admitted needing RM210 for the repair, and if Tzu Chi can subsidize the cost, the machine could be sent immediately to Temerloh for repairs. 
 
When Kam Lin handed over the relief cash, Rosliza was a little surprised and felt really grateful for it. Upon Kam Lin’s advice, she went to the school immediately to pick up relief items, including a Jing Si multi-purpose folding bed, at the aid distribution.
 
A different way to help others
 
Upon returning home from the aid distribution, Rosliza and her nineteen-year-old daughter, Amira Husna bte Zulkifli, were excited to check out the folding bed and eco-blanket they had just received.
 
“This is really great! With this bed, we don’t need to sleep on the floor anymore. I am so happy that I feel like crying,” exclaimed Amira, as she sat happily on the expanded folding bed.
 
Amira remarked that Tzu Chi’s way of helping people is different from others. Tzu Chi volunteers were not only there to help clean up the neighbourhood, but they also conducted cash-for-work programme, free clinic and aid distribution, besides offering emergency cash to her mother. She was deeply touched to receive the timely aid.
 
Amira also asked for a bamboo bank from the volunteers. She hopes not to be on the receiving end forever, and promised to deposit small change into the bamboo bank daily, to help the needy through Tzu Chi.
 
For the first time since the flood struck, Rosliza felt happy as her family received emergency cash and other relief items.
 
She revealed, “For the past several nights, my bones were aching as we were sleeping on the floor. With this bed, I no longer need to go through the agony. Frankly, I am afraid of cold and I usually sleep with a thick blanket and socks. I have been feeling chilly ever since the flood.”
 
The warm feeling from the blanket has washed away her pain and she told volunteers smilingly, “Now I know what to do. It does not help to worry too much. The broken items can be fixed slowly, flood-soaked furniture can be washed and reused if not damaged, and the hole on the floor can be covered temporarily with planks. Now I am satisfied to have this blanket when I sleep.”
 
After understanding that the blanket was made from PET bottles, she said that in the past, she only picked up iron bars for her neighbour. Now, she will start collecting recyclables, like PET bottles, instead of discarding them.
 
 
The flood victims have not only received relief items, but also loving-kindness and blessings from many people, which would energize them to get back on their feet and rebuild their homes.
 
 
Rosliza hoped to repair this old sewing machine as it is the tool for her sewing income. [Photograph by Lee Kok Keong]   Rosliza was worried to see the hole on the floor. [Photograph by Lee Kok Keong]

Rosliza hoped to repair this old sewing machine as it is the tool for her sewing income. [Photograph by Lee Kok Keong]
 
Rosliza was worried to see the hole on the floor. [Photograph by Lee Kok Keong]
 
After finding out about Rosliza’s predicament, Tzu Chi volunteers offered emergency cash for the repair of her sewing machine. [Photograph by Lee Kok Keong]   Rosliza (right) and her daughter, Amira (left), felt the love from Tzu Chi Taiwan when they learnt that the Jing Si multi-purpose folding bed was designed by Taiwanese volunteers. [Photograph by Loh Hon Fui]

After finding out about Rosliza’s predicament, Tzu Chi volunteers offered emergency cash for the repair of her sewing machine. [Photograph by Lee Kok Keong]
 
Rosliza (right) and her daughter, Amira (left), felt the love from Tzu Chi Taiwan when they learnt that the Jing Si multi-purpose folding bed was designed by Taiwanese volunteers. [Photograph by Loh Hon Fui]