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June 6, 2006

Father Heart-wrenched Over Fate Of Three Deaf Mutes

From: Bernama, Malaysia - Jun 6, 2006

TUMPAT, June 6 (Bernama) -- The phrase "love has no bounds" runs true for 57-year-old fisherman Yusof Seman who has 11 children, including three deaf mutes.

Despite facing great odds and severe hardship, Yusof of Kampung Teluk Renjuna here, has never failed to provide love and care for his offspring, particularly his two handicapped sons and a daughter.

"They are the gift of Allah to me ... it is because of them that I have remained strong even after my wife had died," Yusof told Bernama at his village abode recently.

The three deaf mutes are daughter Sapinah, 33, and sons Zailani, 28, and Faizal, 13.


He has three other sons and five more daughters, aged 17 and 35.

These eight are school dropouts and are not staying with their father as some have settled down with their families while others are working elsewhere.

As for Sapinah and Zailani, who are embarrassed of their disability, have never attended school.

"As for Faizal, he attended school only for about one month," said Yusof.

When asked by Bernama through a mix of signals and sign language, Faizal indicated that he wished to attend school.


"I am very poor, incapable of sending my three deaf mute children to a proper school for the handicapped.

"With their mother already gone, life is difficult enough for me," lamented Yusof who also does odd jobs in the village.

He earns less than RM500 a month and uses the money to feed his three handicapped children.

However, Yusof is willing to send them to a school that specialises in teaching deaf mutes on the condition that they do not have to stay at a hostel as he cannot bear to be separated from them.

"But I have no idea of how to send them to a special school and so far nobody has come to enquire about their education.

"Faizal, Sapinah and Zailani are getting older by the day and how I wish they can get some education as they are illiterate," he said.


Yusof said the rest of the family had to use sign language when communicating with his three handicapped children.

The fisherman, however, has never asked for sympathy and is thankful that his three children are trying to be independent by making palm-frond brooms.

It was touching to see the trio communicating with each other while making the brooms.

"They get less than RM50 a month each for their effort, a small amount but at least they try to be independent," said Yusof, adding that since last year, Sapinah received RM200 monthly assistance from the Social Welfare Department (JKM).

"The JKM people came to see Sapinah and she qualified for assistance. At least it takes off some load from my shoulders and Sapinah's life is a little bit assured."


Yusof is worried over the future of Zailani and Faizal and hopes that both could get suitable jobs.

He admits that the two would find it difficult to get even low-paying jobs as they do not have any education.

"I hope they can get better jobs rather than being a fisherman like me. But who wants to employ them?"

Yusof said his three handicapped children who were shy and sensitive would refrain from meeting people.

Looking very disturbed, Yusof said: "I wonder what would happen to them if I am no longer around?

"Would anybody come forward and volunteer to take care of them, the way I care for them?

"I don't really know".

Yusof is still searching for answers as he continues to carry on with his life, with his three "special" children.


© 2006 BERNAMA. All rights reserved.