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KUALA LUMPUR, April 2, 2015:

Chow Kit street kids have been habitually staying up late as they are sharing their room with as many as two other families.

A teacher from a special school offering completely free education in Chow Kit said the families would take turns to occupy the room. When it’s not their turn to stay in the room, they would have no where else to go except to roam around on the streets.

The teacher who wanted to remain anonymous said the parents had to share the room as they could not afford the rent which was from RM20 per day upwards.

“The families could not afford it as the mothers are not able to work full time. “They had to take time to look after the children, while the fathers could not be depended upon due to social problems, mostly drug addiction,” he told The Rakyat Post.Chow Kit has generally been regarded with disdain and contempt by the public due to its notoriety as the hub of lower class brothels and prostitutes. Religion of Love coordinator Nurainie Haziqah Shafii said many of the street kids in Chow Kit were brought up by their mothers. “The fathers are often not around to take care of the family due to social problems particularly drug addiction.” She said the government should come up with ways to equip the women with vocational employment, life skills and creation of income generating activities that will help them support themselves and their families economically. “The most pressing need for them is to find sustainable employment. “Many are unable to work full time as they have to take care of the children.”

More than just helping them find jobs, she said the government must look at ways to help women find careers and a path to a future that included self-sufficiency and stability, stopping the cycle of poverty and giving hope for the future. She added that one of the most important decisions they would ever make as a single parent was choosing quality, affordable child care. “It gives parents the support and peace of mind they need to work and earn a living. “But childcare doesn’t always come cheap and even then many cannot afford it, especially single mothers.”

Without a husband being the steady provider, she pointed out that the average cost of child care was far out of reach for them. She said child care assistance that was very much affordable was the crying need of single mothers here.

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