Reach Out

Easing the Burden of COVID-19

Nov 2020    
Providing casework and counselling to enable those in need to clear their debts and build emergency savings

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit everyone hard, especially the vulnerable in our community who are already facing challenging circumstances.

 

When Joey Loh, a social worker from Methodist Welfare Services (MWS), first visited her in Feb 2020, Mdm H was already in dire straits. Married with four young children, she was then in the process of divorcing her abusive husband. He was an absent father who was hardly around and only supported the family by way of paying the children’s school fees. On her logistics assistant’s salary, she was barely making ends meet.

 

The COVID-19 Effect

When the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced, Mdm H’s company changed her working hours from 8.30 a.m.–6.15 p.m. to 6.30 a.m.–4 p.m., in line with safety measures. This meant that she could no longer send her children to preschool and primary school before she started work. Her divorce had just been finalised, and without caregiving support from her ex-husband, she was left with no choice but to leave her job.

Things got worse when the circuit breaker period started in Apr 2020. With the children cooped up at home with not much to do, they became more demanding, causing Mdm H to reach her breaking point.

“I was close to committing suicide, but Joey picked me up and helped me,” she revealed.

The social worker had told her: “If you were to commit suicide, your kids would lose you. Their father isn’t going to take care of them. How would your kids survive without you?”

 

A Welcome Relief

To help Mdm H tide through the tough time, Joey helped her apply for funds under the Donate to Bless campaign, which MWS had established to provide financial assistance of $1,350 each to 1,000 affected families. To date, the campaign has raised more than $1.5 million and received applications for financial assistance from over 800 families.

“I received $1,350, which I used to pay bills and settle a loan payment with my aunt. I had borrowed from her earlier and I’m now paying her back monthly.

“I was really glad to have the money as my kids can finally enjoy the food they want. I normally make plain rice with kicap (a type of soy sauce), but when I used some of the money to buy some prawns, they were so happy,” shared Mdm H, her voice cracking with emotion.

Things are looking up for Mdm H now, as she has moved into a rental flat with her children and no longer has to put up with domestic violence and embarrassment. Her children have returned to school, and are gainfully occupied.

She has also been applying for jobs in the logistics industry, and is looking forward to the day when she can have an income to support the family.

To support MWS’ other fundraising initiatives, please visit mws.sg/give or scan the QR

By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team / Photo courtesy of MWS

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