Overcoming Limits Together

Eight years old and born into a transnational family, Amy* could not even read the alphabet. Her father left her mother in Singapore with a $15,000 debt on top of rent and living expenses. Amy’s mother works long hours at an F&B job to make ends meet, leaving Amy at home alone without any formal schooling.

When Amy took the pre-assessment for Steady Readers (SR), we discovered that she had no exposure to the English language. SR would not have been able to provide the sustained help she needed, so we suggested to place her in our Student Care centres (SCC). Our Casework and Counselling team made sure she got the financial assistance necessary for her to enrol.

The SCC team stepped up to support Amy. Even though student care only starts at 1.30pm, the staff agreed to come at 10am every day to help her settle into centre life. Being with so many children was a culture shock for Amy at first, but over time she grew her socio-emotional capacity, and now she even has a best friend at the centre. To get Amy the help she needed with learning English, our volunteer management executive matched her with a volunteer tutor who has 20 years of experience.

Meanwhile, a mentee from our Youth Services, Belle*, had been struggling with mental health issues for some time. She shared with her mentor of five years, Joyce, that she finds it overwhelming to go to school, so she has dropped out. Our Executive Director suggested that Belle could intern in one of our SCC centres, which might provide a positive and less stressful alternative to the school environment. Belle gave it a shot, and started interning at the centre that Amy enrolled in.

Taking care of the younger children gave Belle a sense of purpose and confidence, and she has really taken a shine to Amy. Just as Joyce mentored her, now Belle is mentoring Amy. On the other hand, Amy blossomed in SCC, learning how to interact with others even as she learned English. She has since passed the MOE entrance exams and is adapting to life in primary school. We are heartened to have helped these two girls find hope and purpose in life.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.