“I am Iqra. I am 16 years old and I am now looking after my 3 younger siblings who are aged 13 and a pair of twins who are 9 years old. My elder brother who will turn 18 next year will be able
to be our legal guardian then. But with a foreigner and refugee status, he has no way to be employed to provide for our family.”
This is one of the saddest stories of one of our refugee families, the Ibrahmins (not their real name). They stay in one of the condos where many of the refugees tend to congregate. Their condo is rather dilapidated, and the living conditions are meagre. Once they were caught in the elevator which was on fire. They were fortunate to escape alive. The Ibrahims came over to Malaysia to escape the violence in Somalia. They are not sure if their father or their extended family back home is alive or dead.
Our team visited the Ibrahims and found out that their mother, Merriam was diagnosed with stage four cancer. The family was unable to fork up RM20,000 for the intensive Chemotherapy treatments. Their community members tried to raise funds for her but were not really successful as many of them are struggling to meet ends need to pay for their rent and food as refugees themselves. Many live three families to an apartment – each family to a bedroom, and look for any kind of daily work to pay for rent and food.
Upon seeing Merriam’s plight, our community workers brought Merriam to a hospital (Life Care Medical Center) for a second opinion on her advanced cancer treatment. Furthermore, her medical expenses were paid by the community workers. Even till Merriam’s last days, the community workers continually supported her family with home visits and prayers. Merriam passed on at only 32 years old. Her demise meant that her children were left alone to fend for themselves