The Swapie Blog

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The Truth of our Children

Remember that kid back in school that always had the trendiest belongings? The branded ergonomic bag with the latest design, the cool pencil case that spotted the most popular cartoon characters, and the newest, whitest shoes that shone. It was all really expensive but he treated it as nothing. The bag will be thrown around, the pencil case stained and scratched and the shoe dirtied by recess time.

I was not lavished with these luxuries but I was still fortunate enough to be able to choose a new $20 bag every year and get new BATA shoes once my old ones were just worn out. My pencil case was the cheap basic design and the only cool trendy case I owned was a door gift from a friend’s birthday party.

Yet, there were other children less fortunate than me. Their bags were hand-me-downs from older siblings which they used till broken and ragged, their shoes were worn till holes formed and their pencil cases were old and dirty from years of usage.

While we usually only remember that cool kid with all the newest belongings, the less fortunate kids are actually always around us. Due to certain circumstances, their family may only be able to afford the basics and they may not get to receive new gifts and presents often. Let us go deep into the stories of 3 such children.

Playing alone in the corner of a 1-room rental flat is 6-year-old Jamie. She lives with her divorced mother and older brother in a 1-room rental flat. Her mother suffers from long-term depression and her older brother is currently incarcerated. Due to her depression, her mother is unfit for work and relies on public assistance to provide for their basic needs.

In less than 2 months, Jamie will be entering a new phase of her life. She is excited for a fresh start in a new school with new friends. However, she is unsure if she will get to own new school supplies this year. Her old bag, a hand-me-down from her older brother, is worn out with the inner lining beginning to tear. She has been asking for the cute bag at the shop downstairs but her mother has been brushing her off.

Umar* is a 10-year-old boy living with his elderly grandaunt in a 1-room rental flat. His mother passed on when he was a toddler due to an unfortunate accident and he was heartlessly abandoned by the other family members. Fortunately for him, his grandaunt took him in and raised him. She is currently working as a cleaner but her low wage is barely enough to provide for their necessities. To make matters worse, her old age is catching up and she suffers from high blood pressure and chronic back pain.

Umar has been using the same backpack for the last 3 years. The colour has long been washed off but he has been pushing off getting a new one. His grandaunt has offered to buy one but he rejected the offer saying his bag is still usable. He has seen her worrying about their finances late at night and he knows that she is not of the best of health. He hopes that she will recover soon.

8-year-old Abigail* and Aiden* were born out of wedlock to a young mother. The family of three just moved into the sparsely furnished 1-room rental flat which they now call home. They have not seen their grandparents for quite a while. Little did they know that the rest of the family was not supportive of their birth and their mom now has limited family support. Making matters worse, the current pandemic has taken a hit on their mother who had to accept a pay cut. This makes their already tight finances even tighter.

The twins’ birthday is coming soon and they are looking forward to their presents. They do a daily countdown with their mother, getting more excited as the day comes nearer. However, they are unaware of how troubled their mom is behind her wide smile. The young prideful mother wishes to prove to her parents that they were wrong. She is fully capable of bringing up her two beautiful children. She wants her children to enjoy their birthday but her finances have been really tight recently and she does not have enough to get them presents. But, she will find a way…

There are many more children just like Jamie, Umar, Abigail and Aiden whose families may be struggling to make ends meet, let alone get them a gift. Help bring a smile to their faces this Children’s Day by simply donating $12.80 to purchase a gift for them.

*All children’s names have been changed to protect their identity

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