MIRI: Celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri would be impossible for Era Abdullah and her family as they are struggling financially, emotionally and physically.
Her husband who is the sole breadwinner had zero income since movement control started and her youngest son was born with bladder exstrophy, a rare birth defect in which the bladder develops outside the foetus.
Problems caused by having the bladder exposed outside the abdomen vary in severity and babies born with the congenital abnormality will need corrective surgery.
thesundaypost recently reached out to the family after Era and her spouse sought food assistance from Miri Yuan Man Welfare Association.
“They contacted us as they were running out of rice and other essential food items. Though they live at Bekenu area, they were determined to come down on a motorcycle as our volunteers are unable to travel there during movement control.
“Upon meeting them, I realised that their situation is far worse than imagined,” said association member, Donny Koo.
The couple is stateless as Era was brought by her family to Miri at a young age from Kalimantan while her husband who was born in The Philippines came to Miri at the age of two.
Their seven children aged between one to 13 , also undocumented have not received any education.
Their youngest, 14 months old Rashid was diagnosed with the congenital defect at birth and requires corrective surgery.
“Rashid can’t urinate normally. I have to assist and clean up. It is very heart-breaking,” said the 33-year-old housewife who shared that they tried to get help from elected representatives but their lack of citizenship has been a constant problem.
“I don’t know my place of birth and neither does my husband. Someone promised to seek help for our son from YB but nothing has happened. We don’t know what is going to happen.
“We tried to get someone to help us get our children into school but nobody could help us. I am so worried and starting to lose hope,” said the distressed mother who was more than grateful to the association for the food assistance and pledge to help Rashid.
Koo told thesundaypost that Miri Hospital said the major corrective surgery which has to be done at Sarawak General Hospital would cost about RM40, 000 as several specialists are required and the charges for foreigners is higher.
“We are in the midst of planning how to help them and hope the child could get the surgery as soon as possible as the longer the delay, the worse the child’s health would be and (this will) make surgery more difficult,” added Koo.