“To the supporters and donors, do not feel like your money is wasted. Please do not look at your donation as a short term return but think of it as a long term investment. Think of it as “If I sponsor this kid, in 10 years, where could he/she be?” Do not think “If I am paying this much, I will get the tax exemption, name and recognition”. –David
We are very proud to share that David (an ex-resident who Shelter is still supporting) is the person who helped to code this revamped web page to make it more intelligent and interesting.
David came to SHELTER at the age of 7. He has no recollection of his past before that and he never knew who his parents were. He only remembers that one of the staff of SHELTER took him from Batu Arang into our Home and that staff left, not long after that. David did not get the chance to ask about his background but David has never lingered on his past and had long accepted his life’s circumstances and moved on.
When David entered SHELTER, he found that he was saturated in an environment that pushed him to learn how to speak in English. Besides that, his life then followed a schedule and a discipline that was shaped by school, tuition and chores as well having fun with play time and TV. He was close to some of the staff there and one of them even taught him how to cook! One person who was like a father figure to him then was the Home Manager, Hong* who often took time to teach the children and constantly listened to their needs.
When David was 13 years old, he was moved to the Teenage Boys Home. He shared that he could already speak English fluently by then. At that point in time, the Teenage Boys Home was filled with squabbles and fights among the boys. David felt really agitated as it is natural for teenagers to want their own private space and to explore their own identity. A staff known as Eric* saw that this was not an environment that would be conducive for the teenagers to grow and excel in. So he proposed an idea to the management to start a different Home under his supervision. The idea behind this Home was to select boys who sincerely wanted to learn and excel in life and Eric would dedicate all his time and energy in building these boys up. This Home was known as Shelter X.
The idea was then approved by the management and so Eric selected the boys from the Teenage Boys Home to be in this new Shelter X. David was one of those selected.
Eric had a different way of raising these boys. He did not expect the boys to be spoonfed on what to do and what not to do throughout the day. He only expected them to follow the guidelines like not going out and coming back late at night, not mixing with the wrong gang, playing truant or taking drugs. What they chose to do within the Home or outside, was left to them to decide. Eric also gave their pocket money in a lump sum at the beginning of the month. He wanted them to learn how to budget and to have self-control in their spending. This is because he wanted to prepare them to be independent when they leave SHELTER as most of them had no one to depend on. He told them “you guys are old enough to think for yourself, so make the right choices because the choice you make will affect your future”.
Eric was not just someone who guided and cared, he also helped them with their homework and exams at school.
When David finally completed his SPM, he had nowhere to go. He had no contact with his parents and none of his relatives ever tried to contact him during his years at SHELTER. One of the staff, who was close to David offered him a place to stay. A friend of this staff owned a restaurant was then looking for someone to work in the restaurant. So David decided to take up the job. He then moved out to stay with the workers who are foreign to him. Being only 18 then, David was prepared and he did not really have any problem coping. He credited his ability to cope to Eric who had trained him.
When SPM results were released, David wanted to further his studies. He knew the only way to move forward in life in the city was to get a degree. He did not know where to start as he found that the tuition fees at private colleges were very high. Another staff from SHELTER named Sophia came to know about his desire to further his studies. She then made the necessary arrangements for David. He wanted to study at Binary College. When the college saw the letter provided by SHELTER on David’s background, they gave him a RM8000 discount on his fees. With the PTPTN loan, David could finally start his studies in Binary College.
David met his girlfriend at college and when her family came to know about his background, they offered to support him. After a couple of months, David felt that it wasn’t right for him to receive their money, so he took on a weekend job with his girlfriend. This job was to clean up the church after services on Sundays. He got some money for it but it was not enough. So he eventually managed to get an internship job with a company referred to by his lecturer. Today, David has completed his Diploma and is now studying for his Degree. He is still studying full time and to be fully independent, he is doing two part time jobs.
However, since David had started helping with the coding to revamp our web page, SHELTER has been supporting him with some financial aid on a monthly basis until he finishes his studies. He is scheduled to finish his degree in June next year and we are really looking forward to that day! Another encouragement!