Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Empowering single mothers in Malaysia

Single mothers in Malaysia face many challenges, but those living in poverty face plenty more. In addition to the financial challenges and the responsibilities of being the sole providers for their children, the majority of single mothers – particularly in rural areas – lack education and specialized job skills, often accepting poorly paid jobs in unfavourable conditions.

To tackle these issues, the Government of Malaysia partnered with UNDP, in 2009, on a survey to map and address the plight of single mothers in the country – particularly the poorest.  The partnership will also help build a system to register single mothers in the country.

Reaching out to single mothers
The national survey targeted 2500 single mothers nationwide.  Working at a grassroots level, the research team engaged directly with local single mothers’ associations, community leaders, as well as the mothers, through workshops and extensive dialogue sessions to better understand the lives and needs of single mothers.

The survey team conducted interviews with single mothers, often in improvised location like this village hut. (Photo: UNDP Malaysia)
The preliminary findings of the study show that in Malaysia, mothers become single mostly due to their husband’s death, abandonment or divorce. In rural areas they often have five or more children. Trying to make ends meet, some mothers are lured into the sex trade. In other cases, unable to afford childcare and often saddled with the additional burden of caring for extended family members, an increasing number of single mothers are housebound and forced to rely on modest government assistance to put food on their tables. One struggling single mother told UNDP she needs to stretch a mere RM30 (less than US$10) to feed her family of six for two whole weeks.

“Financial independence is what single mothers are struggling to achieve,” said Hasiah Haniza Abdul Wahab, Chairperson of the Islamic Single Mothers Association for the Federal Territory and State of Selangor.  “These women have virtually no savings.  They marry at a very young age and are always fully dependent on their husbands for finances.  Once they become single mothers, a heavy burden is placed on their shoulders.” 

According to Abdul Wahab single mothers aged 40 and above find it especially challenging to get into the formal workforce, as most of them never worked before and lack the necessary education, skills and training.

The survey also showed that some single mothers undertake multiple jobs in order to make ends meet for the family.  Many divorced husbands do not pay for the children support after divorce proceedings are finalized.  Given that situation, policies and programmes that can assist single mothers, particularly in child care and education, are urgently needed.  

Next Steps
The complete findings of the survey will help assess the underlying causes, trends and patterns of single mothers’ vulnerabilities, taking cultural factors into account – particularly the stigma of being a divorcee and the lack of legal documentation, since some religious marriages are not officially registered. Based on the analysis, UNDP, the Government of Malaysia and civil society organizations are developing a National Action Plan that will be ready towards the end of 2010. The Plan will ensure necessary institutional support, effective policies and services to empower and lift single mothers out of poverty.

“We hope that with the National Action Plan, the single mothers of Malaysia will be better empowered to face their many challenges,” said Siti Altaf Deviyati, Manager of the Single Mothers Project. “The single mothers will definitely benefit from policies and programmes that are custom-made to fit their requirements in areas such as the provision of adequate child care facilities, should they choose to work, and  skills training to make them employable, just to name a few.”

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Best Single Mother Quotes and Sayings

Here are some famous quotes on being a single mother or a working woman.

God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.
~ Rudyard Kipling

The trouble with being a parent is that by the time you are experienced, you are unemployed.
~ Anonymous

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.
~ Sophia Loren

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.
~ Tenneva Jordan

Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.
~ Pearl S. Buck

Raising a family is difficult enough. But it's even more difficult for single parents struggling to make ends meet. They don't need more obstacles. They need more opportunities.
~ Bill Richardson

Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease.
~ Lisa Alther

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.
~ Rajneesh

Your children need your presence more than your presents.
~ Jesse Jackson

If the whole world were put into one scale, and my mother in the other, the whole world would kick the beam.
~ Lord Langdale

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.
~ Honore' de Balzac

I think while all mothers deal with feelings of guilt, working mothers are plagued by guilt on steroids!
~ Arianna Huffington

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.
~ Anonymous

Mothers always find ways to fit in the work - but then when you're working, you feel that you should be spending time with your children and then when you're with your children, you're thinking about working.
~ Alice Hoffman

It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge.
~ Phyllis Diller

A man's work is from sun to sun. A mother's work is never done.
~ Anonymous

Many working mothers feel guilty about not being at home. And when they are there, they wish it could be perfect. This pressure to make every minute happy puts working parents in a bind when it comes to setting limits and modifying behavior.
~ Cathy Rindner Tempelsman

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.
~ Mildred B. Vermont

Mothers are the people who love us for no good reason. And those of us who are mothers know it's the most exquisite love of all.
~ Maggie Gallagher

Only mothers can think of the future - because they give birth to it in their children.
~ Maxim Gorky
Where to Find Grants For Single Mothers
By Pieter West
The financial burden of raising children is difficult enough to carry when you are marred, but when you are alone it can be almost too much to bear. There is hope however as there are plenty of grants for single mothers available that you can apply for in order to help lighten the load. This article will cover a few of the more popular options you have. Remember; unlike loans which have to be paid back, these grants for single moms are awarded to you with no strings attached. It's just like getting free money.

It is a shame that most people don't even realize that there are grants for single moms available to help them pay bills, go to college, support their children, and even start their own businesses. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that 30 million people will earn grant money this year alone, so make sure you do everything you can to get your share of that money.

When looking for grants for single mothers, one of the best resources you have available is the Internet. There are many different sites available that specialize in finding ways for you to get your hands on government money such as DollarGrants, SingleMom, and Uncle Sam's Money. These sites are great as they allow you to find government programs for many different categories such as education, employment, labor, and training. They can't promise that you will be selected to receive this money, but they can do all they can to help you find the right programs for you.

If it is your aim to return to college so you can get a better career, then you should definitely apply for Federal Pell Grants for single mothers. These will pay for some, most, or in some cases, all of your tuition expenses. All you need to do is fill out a FAFSA form either online or at your college's Financial Aid office. Your eligibility will be determined based on your income and your financial obligations.

Besides the various Federal grants for single mothers available, there are also state sponsored programs available that may be able to get you the funds you seek. If you are interested in finding out what your particular state has available, the fastest way to find out is to simply contact your state assistance program. The official Web site for your state may have some helpful information as well. Remember, in most cases you can only apply for state sponsored programs of the state you currently reside in.

As you can see, there are countless grants for single mothers available to help you if you are willing to put forth the time and effort to look for them and apply. Hopefully this article has helped to give you a better idea of what options you have available.
Pieter West travels the world on a regular basis and have written about numerous subjects. He has an extensive knowledge about, finances, DIY, parenting advice and many more subjects. If you would like to read more articles by Peter West, please visit