Message from Chong Sheau Ching, Executive Director of eHomemakers
I had a humbling experience in April 2009, when I went to speak to four Mothers' Day Contest nominees, who are staying in the Chow Kit area (famous for its red light activities in Kuala Lumpur). Danisa, a Program Officer of Pink Triangle, volunteered to take me around the back lanes of Chow Kit to see the "real people" or the "forgotten people of KL" while we looked for the various meeting places with the nominees. It was between 2 - 3 pm but I was surprised to find quite a few women with brightly painted lips standing at street corners and next to stairways of kedai kopi. They smiled and greeted Danisa.
"Who are they?" I asked.
"You're so innocent?" she chuckled. "They are sex workers looking for business!"
"I thought that this kind of business only happens at night? Why don't they do something else in the day time?"
Danisa could not contain her laughter. "Madam, they don't have any other skills. Some even work early in the morning because they need the money! There is no office hours when you have bills to pay and support your children!"
"Oh..." I suddenly felt so stupid.
There were drug addicts and transsexuals, some who were also HIV/AIDS patients. They waved at us. "We belong to one big family. They all come to Pink Triangle when they need help." She told me some of these women's stories - all had similar storylines of family rejection, no skills and low education, mixing with the wrong crowd and often ending up in a bottomless pit, falling through the cracks of official assistance because of various circumstances and then, finally losing confidence in their own ability.
"They all had many big dreams like you before all these things happened to them but their dreams died," Danisa said as a matter-of-factly. She has been working for Pink Triangle for several years, giving care and temporary shelter to the homeless who are active in the Chow Kit area.
My heart sank as my ears rang with the song, "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables. "I dreamed a dream in time gone by, When hope was high and life worth living, I dreamed that love would never die, I dreamed that God would be forgiving, I was young and unafraid, And dreams were made and used and wasted...I had a dream my life would be, So different from this hell I am living so different now from what it seems, Now life has killed the dream I dreamed."
Just a day before, I had watched Susan Boyle, a contestant on "Britain's Got Talent" singing it on YouTube. Initially, all the judges and audience were against this plump and unfashionable 47-year-old. They snickered and rolled their eyes when she announced her dreams to be a professional singer like Elaine Page. But then, when she started to sing, there were looks of shock and incredulity. Susan sang like a lark.
"Don't judge a book by the cover," was the headline about Susan Boyle. I cannot help but wonder how many of the people I met at the back lanes of Chow Kit would surprise us with their talents if only they were given the opportunity. Instead of us judging their worth based on their profession, we should have an open mind and heart to give them a chance. Who knows? We might have another Susan Boyle in our midst, a diamond in the rough.
"Volunteer Moms Unite!" High-Tea 2009
This year eHomemakers and Nestle paid tribute to mothers who not only overcame their personal adversities but also managed to contribute significantly to society and help others. These selfless volunteers and their families were feted on May 16 at the "Volunteer Moms Unite!" High-Tea 2009.
In her welcome address, Miss Chong Sheau Ching said, "These stories teach us not to complain, feel down or depressed, even during the times when we are trapped in a corner and feel like giving up," she said. She went on to elaborate how some of these women devoted many years to extend a helping hand to the needy without the expectations of reward or recognition. Miss Chong rightfully pointed out, "In this materialistic world, they are the gems of society."
To read more about these inspiring mothers, please click here.
We’ve Done It Again!
Heartiest congratulations to eHomemakers! We received the Social Enterprise Award from MCA ICT Resource Centre (MIRC) at its first annual dinner on April 27, 2009.
EAR To The Rescue
EAR is working with eHomemakers on a special programme to provide auto assistance to single mothers with cars. This tailor-made programme, especially targeted towards single mothers with young children, will provide the skills to understand the basic mechanisms of a car, cope with auto emergencies and find the right workshop for car maintenance.
We’re On TV1
eHomemakers is collaborating with TV1 to showcase women who have achieved career and family balance by working from home. To date, a number of our members who are running successful home-based businesses from various industries have appeared on “Apa Kata Wanita!...bersama Zamzarina”.