FOR THE BEST: Fatimah (right) visiting Klenet and her family in Tiong Hua Road.
SIBU: Rural folk who are lacking in skills are finding it tough to get employed in the urban area, resulting in many ending up getting low-pay jobs.
Klenet Musa, a 32-year-old mother of six children is among those facing such predicament when her family moved to the town to look for work.
The family arrived in Sibu town in 2007 and rented a small room of a house at Tiong Hua Road.
Two of her children have dropped out from school.
The family had a rare but distinguished visitor in the person of Welfare, Women, and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah recently.
Fatimah said she would not look at their case as an isolated one.
"I wanted to alert the Resident and the local authorities on the issue we are facing.We need to work together to help them.
"This family for example, has two children already dropping out of school. My worry is that the other children might follow suit," she pointed out.
Klenet's two children - an 11-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son - were said to have left school due to their problem in coping with new environment and bullying problem at school.
Fatimah said she was thinking along the same line as Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing that rural children had better stayed in the village to continue with their formal education.
"If they moved to the city, and could not adapt to the new environment, they would drop out. They would later cause a lot of social problems," she said.
Fatimah said her ministry could only provide financial assistance, but in the case of Klenet, it would not suffice.
"There are problems such as education, health and quality of life that we need to tackle," she pointed out.
According to her,Sibu has many affordable living quarters with a monthly RM150 per room rent, but not in a healthy environment.
"It is okay if the children are young.Another family I visited (at Tong Sang Road), the children are in their adolescence. Cramping in one small room is not healthy for them," she said.
Meanwhile, the minister said she had managed to persuade Klenet to leave her 11-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son to the care of the Welfare Department.
She said the children would be sent to the Children's Home and there, they would have proper education, meals, and better living environment.
"This is actually our second visit to the family, and this time, the mother actually agreed to let us take care of the children.
"It is the hardest thing for parents to separate with their children, but I think it is the better option for now," she noted.
She said the children could always go back to their parents during school holidays.
As for Klenet's other children, Fatimah said the Welfare Department would look into ways to help the children like giving them financial support to ensure that they could continue with their education.