“It’s a Sarawakian culture to have many children because….”

unfpa hokl humans of kuala lumpur sarawak ngo iban pregnancy cause

unfpa hokl humans of kuala lumpur sarawak ngo iban pregnancy cause“My name is Katherine Mendung Anak Embau and I’m 26 years old. I married when I was 19 and had my first child a year later, and my second child last year in 2015. But I’d like to have 5 children. It’s a Sarawakian culture to have many children because they are considered assets. [Laughs]. Most people around here get married around the age of 20, and they would find a job prior to getting married. The youngest mother here is 13 years old, married to her husband who is about 30 something.

The best age to start having children is in your 20s. It’ll be a bit too late and more difficult if you have them in your 30s. There are cases instead where a married couple can’t get children. And it’s not because of contraceptives, but speaking of that, my husband does not like to use a condom.

My children was born in the government hospital about 40 km from here. It would take us about 30 mins or so to reach the city. Of course it would be more helpful if there is a hospital nearer to us. But it is what it is. So we learn to plan our trips during our pregnancy. Like when is the expected time or date for me to go to the hospital.

We only have a motorcycle to move around, not many people have cars here. If we have to go to the clinic, we’d hold our children on the motorcycle – there are ways of holding them (laughs). We’re used to it.”

– Humans of Kuala Lumpur went with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA Malaysia) into the jungles of Sarawak, where they were helping out underprivileged Sarawakians and orang asal in their mission to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

Photostory by Mushamir Mustafa

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(This post was first published on July 4th 2018)