Adolescence is a time when we fully immerse ourselves in things we love to do, exploring new things, and hanging out with family and friends. It is, simply, the beginning of our youth.
However, life is completely different for this 14-year-old girl from Melaka, who had to drop out of school to work and support her family after her older siblings abandoned them.
According to The Star, Siti Nurfatihah Md Nasir is currently working as a cashier at a cafe in the city to care for her 13-year-old brother and her 56-year-old father who is currently undergoing drug rehabilitation therapy at home.
“My mother passed away due to womb cancer early last year and six of my older siblings have left home and never returned.”
She said that she was forced to work to put food on the table and to pay rent for her wooden house in Kampung Pinang Tengah, which had been unpaid for a year. After working for more than six months, she managed to settle eight months arrears of the rent.
“I earn about RM700 a month working part-time and RM200 goes to the house’s rental,” she said.
Siti and her brother, Muhammad Ridzwan Md Nasir, were forced to quit school due to their financial problems. She explained that this was because they had to walk almost 2 kilometres to attend classes but they did not have proper school bags and shoes.
The loving sister is also worried that students would mock and tease her brother at school.
“I don’t like to see other students poke fun at my brother for wearing slippers to school and when he goes hungry without canteen money.”
“He is still childish. So, I decided to keep him at home until I am able to buy proper school clothes for him,” she said.
Although eager to go back to school, but Siti’s main priority now is to find money to provide for her family.
According to Klebang assemblyman Gue Teck, the state Welfare Department had offered to help the siblings by placing them in a shelter but they had chosen to remain at home.
He said that Siti had resigned from her work, and he was making arrangements for the siblings to return to school.
“I will enrol them into a secondary school in Klebang, closer to their home.”
Gue added that he would help to pay their outstanding rent and ensure that they receive monthly aid from the Welfare Department.
Her story has definitely taught us to be grateful for the things we have. With help and support being given by the authorities, we sincerely hope that Siti would be able to return to school and fulfil her life goals.
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