A Determined Mum Who Stood Strong During Tough Times

Mothers of modern Singapore have it hard, real hard. On top of being the primary caregiver, they still thrive to do well at work to bring some bread home, amidst fast paced routines, they squeeze in time for grocery shopping, cooking healthy meals for the family and keeping the home clean. Let’s not forget about spending good quality time with their little ones and showing up everyday with a calm and nurturing attitude to be the best role model for their child(ren). Phew we are out of breath already.

This Mothers’ Day Series-  A Determined Mum Who Stood Strong During Tough Times shares the parenting journey of power-packed ladies being mothers in different circumstances. Not just your average mums teaching ABCs, these mums swim the deepest oceans and run the extra miles to raise their children. Odds may seem in their disfavours but what are odds? No one has got time to think about that. They make the best of every day like a real superhero.

*Disclaimer: not saying Dads or other caregivers do not have it hard but it is Mothers’ Day so let’s take some time to appreciate mummies of all shapes and sizes out there!

Hi, I am Lin Li (pseudonym). I am from Indonesia and I came to Singapore 20 years ago. I have a teenage daughter. This is my story as a mum.

Here is my story as a mum:

Apart from my husband and daughter, I do not have many family or friends in Singapore. When my daughter was nine years old, my husband was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. At the same time, my family finances hit the rock bottom. Our finances did not improve over time, as my husband became blind and required injections to his eyes frequently in the recent years.

I am currently working at:

During the difficult times, our social worker introduced me to the Mother and Child Project (MnCP), a social enterprise by Singapore Anglican Community Services.

 MnCP offers retail vocational training and home-based sewing work to disadvantaged women, single mothers and women recovering from mental health conditions, so that they can increase their employability skills and be economically self-sufficient through innovative product creations.

 Although I had no knowledge in sewing work, MnCP taught me from the beginning, from the learning how to operate a sewing machine to sewing clothes and crafts. Throughout the process, I made many mistakes. However, I was determined to succeed. I wanted to work and earn to meet the needs of my family.  MnCP never gave up on me and they kept encouraging me to push on. 

I still remembered when I completed my first sewing job, the MnCP team said to me, “Good job! Well done!” Their encouragement and affirmation mean so much to me. I was so happy when I received my first pay check. I finally made it!

How I am now:

Being able to support my family’s expenses is important to me. Now I am confident that I can improve my family’s finances with my sewing skills. My monthly income has increased from $150 – $300 in the beginning to $800 – $1,000 now. Although this may sound like a small amount to others, but to me, it has greatly eased our financial burden.

Now, my sewing skill has improved. I enjoy making face masks and bags. I used to make bags for my daughter when she was younger too.

My motivation:

Ruth, my mentor from MnCP, often encourages me. She understands my family’s situation and my husband’s medical condition. She is always ready to lend me a listening ear. She even reaches out to my daughter too.

Any words of encouragement to share?

Thank you, Mother and Child Project! Thank you, Ruth! And to all mums, do not give up!

To support mothers like Lin Li through the Mother and Child Project, you may visit their website here or visit Fairmarch to purchase handmade products by them.

Written by our volunteer writer, Valerie Ong.

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