We are often told that poor people are poor because they make bad decisions. But have you ever thought that perhaps they make bad decisions because they are poor?
An NUS study of families on an MWS-initiated debt relief programme called GOOD (Getting Out of Debt) showed that the mental stress of chronic debt/poverty hurts a person’s ability to think clearly and make good decisions.
In a country as developed as ours, we find it hard to imagine a family struggling to pay for basic necessities like three square meals, school fees, medical care, or even rental for a roof over their heads. For one in five households in Singapore, that is their reality, and it will take multiple generations for their family to break out of the poverty cycle, if at all.
One of them is Ling’s1 family. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, and declared medically unfit for work, leaving her husband as the sole breadwinner for a family of six. Money woes led to marital conflicts, which in turn affected the children. When Ling came under MWS’ care, apart from receiving support through casework and counselling, her family was also placed on the MWS Family Development programme that empowered them to save for their future.
With improved finances and stability, Ling’s relationship with her husband and children strengthened, and she was also able to focus on her recovery.
We see many families like Ling’s. They often feel so trapped by their circumstances and cannot see a way out. You can give them hope again.
Helping can be simple. A gift of only $1 a day or $30 a month can help families break out of the cycle of poverty. As Proverbs 3:27 says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” There is strength in numbers and, together, we can help break the chains of poverty.
To donate online, please visit mws.sg/break-poverty-cycle or scan the QR code.
By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team
1 Not her real name.
Visual courtesy of Methodist Welfare Services