Watch the two pictures below. Can you see a major difference between Picture A and Picture B?
The four thirteen-year old children above are among a group of ten Form 1 pupils attending classes at Almanar. They are from Darul Akhyar ( the home for orphans and children of poor family) situated one kilometer away from our home (click HERE).
Selected early this year from various localities in the state these less fortunate children go to the same school as Arif of our previous posting. In the month of March ten of them began classes at Almanar. They are made up of eight cute little girls and two healthy boys who are often mistaken for twins.
Ten Form 1 children from Darul Akhyar
At this point let me go back to ‘see-the-difference’ above.
Does the difference lie in their dresses, smiles, standing positions or something else?
You are spot on if you notice that the three children in the second picture, unlike those ten in Picture A, have glasses on. The next natural question is why three children are with glasses and not all the four. There is a story behind this.
In the class-room ten days ago I suddenly became aware of great haste among a few of them copying notes from their neighbours’ books instead of copying what I had written on the white board. Experience told me that there were short-sighted children among the ten kids. But I never bargained for an unusual occurrence of four out of ten having eyesight problems. This must be a record of sort. And this had not caught my attention until that day.
Apparently their teachers knew of their problems but no help was promised or forthcoming. I have often wondered if a school should not in the first instance be made responsible for detecting eyesight problems among children. A class room is a good place to detect short-sightedness. The case can be serious when one sitting in the front row chooses to copy from a neighour’s book and those in the back quite happily copy straight from the board.
It hurts me to see this problem. What happened ten days ago was not the first time. It was pointless for me to question why the school management seemed oblivious to the plight faced by these children. So when the class was over that day I drove the four kids to a familiar optometrist. Two days later the four had their glasses. But the story did not end there.
Three days later, the day I planned to have the group of four photographed for this posting, one girl turned up looking crestfallen. “ Pakcik, cermin saya kena curi.” ( Pakcik, my glasses have been stolen.) Apparently at the end of her first day at school with her new glasses she left them in her school beg to go to the school prayer room. It was not until she was in the school van on the way home when she discovered her new glasses were missing. Thr van driver was kind enough to take her back to school to do a search. But all was in vain.
Once again I drove this girl to the optometrist for a new pair. "Saya dah bazirkan duit Pakcik” ( I have wasted Pakcik’s money) She moaned bitterly on our way back to her ‘home’. I realised how hurt she was. Money was everything to this child. My hope is that they would see what their success in their studies means to me; and hopefully these children would one day see the light at the end of the tunnel and grow to appreciate the true worth of money.
That story explains why one girl in Picture B is without glasses. Today they all can clearly see the white board and, for a change, clearly see Pakcik’s face which is not so bad after all despite warts and wrinkles! I can now lie on my back after ‘tarawih’ prayers drawing a long sigh.
Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.