Hope Place offers lifeline to families in need

Matina with three of her children.

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KUCHING: Failure and ignorance about government welfare aid are among the reasons why Matina, 30, and Ong Moi Zen, 35, turned non-governmental organisation (NGO) Hope Place for food assistance.

A Bidayuh mother of four, Matina said she applied twice to the Welfare Department for aid, but she was not successful both times.

Matina is married to a Chinese man, 50, who does not have a proper job due to his condition as a diabetic.

“He is an errand worker. Sometimes he works, other times, he does not. We don’t have a regular income prior to this.

“I only started to work as a waitress about a week ago. Hopefully with me working, we can have some regular income,” Matina who hails from Kampung Serian, Tebedu told DayakDaily this morning.

Matina said she read about Hope Place from the newspapers and out of desperation, she called the NGO.

“They came the next day bringing with them food and other essentials,” said Matina who became one of the 188 current Hope Place aid recipients in September this year.

She was told that every three months, Hope Place would send over foodstuff which, she said, was a great help to her family.

“We rent a place in Tabuan Jaya area and we need to pay RM200 per month for rental. Sometimes, after paying the rent, we are lacking in money to buy food. The foodstuff sent over by Hope Place is a great help,” said Matina.

Ong with her two children.

Meanwhile, Ong, 35, who is a single mother with two children is also relying on the foodstuff sent over by Hope Place to make ends meet.

Ong said her mistake was getting entangled with a 50-year-old married man who could not support her and her family.

“He has another family. And he has five children in his other family. As an electrician, he could not afford to give us any money.

“When I asked him for money for the children’s school expenses, he could not even give me RM10,” said Ong.

Ong admitted that she regretted her mistake but she could not turn back.

Presently, she cannot work because she has to take care of her two girls and she has no knowledge of how to apply for government welfare aid.

“Just when I decided to leave him, I found out I was pregnant with my eldest daughter. So I stayed. What else can I do?” said Ong.

To survive, Ong stays with her own mother and somehow, the two women try to make ends meet.

The foodstuff from Hope Place relieves a lot of her stress as at least, the children will still have some food when money has run out.