Have you ever sat down at a restaurant eating lunch or dinner with a couple of friends and then comes in a little kid with a tin box or with the use of his small dirt-covered hands asking for a spare of change? At first encounter, you’d hand him 1 ringgit from your wallet, you give with a good intention and wish him the best silently in your heart. So, comes another day at a different place but somewhere close by to the last place you ate with your friends, you see the same little kid again, you’d pretend you didn’t see him and try to avoid eye-contact but a possibility due to the last encounter whether he remembers you or not, he comes by in hopes that you’d spare another change. This time, you put your hand up, nod your head and politely say, “It’s okay”, as if he’s offering you something to eat to which you have to reject. You feel a little annoyed.
In Malaysia, the moment the sun sets in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, little kids would start roaming around, and it becomes apparent at certain locations like Chow Kit, they would loiter, search for food or beg and hustle for money. Some of the kids seen around the city in the late nights are homeless, bought and sold by syndicates, used for prostitutions or child-pornography. These children are not only homeless but each individual come with a background or history of being a runaway, abandoned or even neglected by society.
They might come from a troubled family, raised by a mother who works as a prostitution, or a father who is a drug abuser, they have no place else to go but to loiter. Some may have been put into a welfare home but some choose to run away to get back on the streets.
Many of the homeless children in Malaysia are brought up paperless. They grow up in their own country but without any registration of their names in the system. They are traceless and live with no identity on paper. That being said, they get no free education, no free vaccination or medical education.
The numbers of homeless children in Malaysia are countless; it could be more or less tens of thousands all around Malaysia. The amount of children left around wandering in the dark alleys of the city makes it almost impossible to focus on one and every child alone but with small changes and one step at a time, help is always around.
There is still humanity in this world with volunteers, social workers and a small circle of community who are eager to make a difference and to help the homeless children. There is a centre for homeless children in Kuala Lumpur called Rumah Nur Salam founded and led by Dr. Hartini Zainuddin where they provide the children with food and basic educations needed, the point of the centre is to keep the children off the street.