Tan Siew Nyok
Tan Siew Nyok has been married for 24 years. For as long as she can remember she has had to work odd jobs in order to supplement her husband's unsteady income. She has bounced around from tailoring to providing transportation to and from school for some of the children that live nearby. With their combined income, Tan Siew Nyok and her husband are just able to pay food and rent. She is not prepared for any shock that may thrust the family into a financial crisis.
This is exactly the problem, and exactly why Tan Siew Nyok has looked to Salaam Wanita. When her sister in law passed away in 2005, her brother could no longer handle the stress of raising a young children on his own. So Tan Siew Nyok took on the job of caring for her niece and nephew. While she is happy to look after her brother's child, the death of her sister-in-law has reminded Tan Siew Nyok that she is in a very tenuous situation- living month to month. However, Tan Siew Nyok doesn't want to only get by. She wants a better future for her children. She wants them to continue their education beyond the young age of 15, when she stopped her education.
For her 14-year old son this means providing a supportive home environment that is conducive to his studies, and being able to afford the additional costs of sports and tutoring that is so common in Malaysia. Salaam Wanita helps in both of these ways. Tan Siew Nyok learned about Salaam Wanita back in 2002, but didn't join at the time. As her children have grown and her family situation has changed with the death of her sister in law, Tan Siew Nyok decided to return to Salaam Wanita. She recently re-joined the project so that she can earn an extra income from her home.
The extra income will ensure her children a brighter future. Right now she is cutting and rolling paper. She has even come up with a more efficient rolling technique and better quality rolls. The better rolls provide a strong foundation for the baskets. The rolls also provide a strong foundation for her children's future as the income has an effect on their needs.
Tan Siew Nyok is happy to be back among a network of friends all dedicated to improving their features through the baskets. They are striving to make a better future and being together helps spread optimism and hope for a better future. Like so many women in Salaam Wanita, Tan Siew Nyok enjoys a sense of community that gives her the strength and hope to pave the way for a better future.