Due to the Malabsorption syndrome, Syifa was extremely weak and bedridden. Totong and Syifa lived in unfathomable poverty because caring for his grandson around the clock meant Totong couldn’t work a traditional job.
The only income Totong could bring in was from growing and selling vegetables.
The Indonesian government and social departments refused to help or assist Totong financially or medically in any way, making an already difficult life even harder for Totong and Syifa.
Syifa can’t do anything for himself – he has been bedridden for most of his life because of his weakened body. He can barely muster up the energy to eat when Totong spoonfeeds him.
After their story spread in newspapers and other news outlets throughout Southeast Asia, Indonesia officials began to get publicly chastised and shamed, the government finally stepped in and sent Syifa to a hospital after his weight dropped to approximately 20 pounds.
Syifa’s weight is now increased and he is being cared for by medical professionals, but many in the community believe it is too little too late, something that has unfortunately been plaguing Indonesia’s government for some time.
“This is the tip of the iceberg phenomenon. Hopefully, in the future, PKK cadres (the Family Welfare Movement) can do more to save poor children like Syifa,” one activist said.
Hopefully, the Indonesia officials also work towards taking care of the elderly, too.
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