Once in a while I would come across patients who need more than a formal medical consult. They may need a meal, a lift back home or genuine advice as to how to navigate their lives. I try my best to do what I can within my capacity. Sometimes it helps, rarely it doesn’t.
Recently, I crossed path with a mom of 4. She initially brought one of her kids to the clinic for an upper respiratory tract infection. I treated the child accordingly and like any medical clerking – I asked about her social history. Meaning how big the family was, was she working, how was the kids school etc. That was when I learnt that she was ‘divorced’ while being pregnant and that now she is a single mother.
I enquired if she had help to manage her kids from a financial aspect and if she had a good social support – it seems that she is stuck at the part of defining her marital status. Her talak was never brought to court for confirmation and her husband had left her without a single cent (this is only from her side of the story, of course). She now has difficulties to proceed with fasakh because she was unsure of what to do . Her family was in the same clueless boat.
I asked if she wanted me to have a look at what her problem was. She seemed glad. Since I was also not truly familiar with how the syariah system works, I did some digging myself – asking on watsapp groups and from friends who at least knows a lawyer to explain the procedure to me.
It was actually very simple. And I believe the officer at court gave her proper instructions on what to do – she just seemed a bit lost on the computer part. So I did what I can and helped her type out her application for fasakh in a readily available template from the website.
This was done on a separate ‘special consult’ session that I arranged with her on one of my lunch call days in the clinic. She brought the necessary documents and boy, she was in awe when I started filling in the details. It was not tech savvy level – just something you can do on WPS Office. She told me that she had wanted to do them at a cyber cafe but they were charging her quite a lot for an hour – (.. again, only her side of the story).
While I was typing, I reminded her to later secure a job that could keep her family afloat and not to rely 100% on zakat and welfare money. I made her promise to keep her kids in school and have them get the highest education that they can get. I babbled on how she should think of a skill that she is good at and monetize from that. She seems to be listening and said yes to everything.
I am good in giving advices and encouraging other people – but I am not doing that for myself. HA HA HA.
Once I have completed typing out the forms, I printed out a copy and told her to make more copies for her self. I created an email account for her so she could use them in the future. I also told her about a thrift shop I came across near her residence if she ever needed cheap, new pair of clothes for herself and her kids. And just before she left, I slipped some birthday money in her hand for her youngest kid hoping that it will be put to good use.
I felt good after this experience and I wonder if there are other women who are in the same dilemma of not being able to fight for themselves because they cannot type out a form. In this case, fasakh is important for her because I want this lady to establish herself as a single mother and benefit from the various programmes we have in Malaysia.
I wish I could help out more. I wish I understand the system better when it comes to social rights and welfare. Perhaps there is a class, a course or a diploma I can take to learn more about it. So I could do it just as well as Syed Azmi because in this line of duty – networking and reliable resources helps.