Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Surviving on RM1 a Day

KULAI: With only RM1 to spend on himself daily, 18-year-old Logan is used to going hungry because he can afford only one meal a day.

The teenager has to be extra careful with how he spends the RM30 he borrows monthly from relatives or risk going hungry the rest of the month.

Learning skills: Logan (fourth from right) and his course mates listening attentively while their instructor explains the workings of an engine at the training centre in Kulai.
“I have to budget my money so I usually have plain rice with a bit of curry or maybe a roti canai,” said the student who left his family two months ago to join the E-Access Engineering Training Centre in Kulai.

His father abandoned the family and his mother lost her factory job two months ago and there's his younger brother to support.

“I want to learn all I can and maybe even work for others to gain experience before opening my own workshop someday,” he said.

His friend, M. Manivannan, 15, faces similar financial difficulties. He said he once starved for two days surviving on just sips of coffee because he did not want to ask anyone for money.

“My friend noticed and insisted on buying dinner for me at the end of the second day,” said the third of eight siblings.

E-Access chairman Mohd Yusuf M. Aji said the majority of the 75 students there have financial problems because they are from poor families.

“Sometimes, their parents want to pay us with jewellery or money that they have borrowed from Ah Longs.

“How can we take money like that? We just discuss with them and take what they can pay,” he said of the RM355 registration and monthly RM50 hostel fees.

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