If there was one word to describe Mdm Noorasimah, it would be “survivor”. The 45-year-old has been the sole caregiver to her 4 sons between 8-15 years old, as well as her husband who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia 10 years ago.
“Since I got married, It’s (been) hard for me. I have to take care of 4 kids. I’m the mother and the father,” she said.
At 25, she was introduced to her husband by her family and married shortly after. Her mother-in-law had also been diagnosed with Schizophrenia so Mdm Noorasimha recognised the symptoms that started developing in her husband.
On medication to suppress potential outbursts, her husband could no longer continue working as a gardener to support the family. It was hard looking for a part-time job while caring her husband at home, and still cook and clean for her children when they’re back from school.
Even so, Mdm Noorasimah said she still tries to work as a part-time cleaner to earn an additional $270 a month to supplement the financial aid she receives from the Social Service Office.
“If I have food, I’ll give it to my sons and my husband. I always think of my kids and my husband,” she added.
Helping families thrive & achieve their life goals is at the heart of what Advisors' Clique strives to do as a company. Financial advisor and coordinator for his team's volunteering initiative Lim Yong Seng said supporting Project HomeWorks was another way they could serve families in need, "not only (with donations) but also involving our time, especially during this Covid period."
A hard life has shaped Mdm Noorasimah into the strong, determined person that she is today. But a helping hand from the Dollar Delta X Advisors' Clique volunteer team was a much-needed first step to build a healthier life at home.
L-R: Mdm Noorasimah holding a cup of bed bugs they've caught & killed the morning our team arrived. This was the nesting ground hiding behind the family's wardrobe, next to where they sleep.
The family has had to deal with was the intense bed bug infestation that started after their neighbours moved in. Over the last 10 years, the infestation has intensified and Mdm Noorasimah didn't know what to do next despite their attempts to discard their old beds and repaint the walls multiple times.
“(My children) keep complaining, ‘Ibu (mother in Malay) itchy la’. We all cannot sleep until morning, 5am or 6am. Sleep or never sleep, the kids also go to school and they’re always tired,” Mdm Noorasimah shared.
“Every day I pray, ‘God help me. Make me strong’. I have to take care of all 5 of them,” she added.
Assistance for the family’s living situation finally arrived on a Saturday morning in May.
With safety measures in place after Singapore went back into Phase 2, Yong Seng’s team of 5 were one of the 4 volunteer teams spread out to serve 4 houses on Saturday, 8 May.
Yong Seng and his 3 colleagues helped carry out the heavy lifting that Mdm Noorasimah could not manage on her own, including discarding all the wooden wardrobes where the bed bugs were nesting.
Armed with caulking guns, the team then focused on sealing up all the gaps in the walls and electrical casings. Mdm Noorasimah's 2 youngest sons also pitched in by setting up all the plastic tiered drawers for their clothes, just as the volunteers moved on to cling-wrap all 6 brand new mattresses and pillows.
“You get to see the living conditions they have are really not adequate for them to study and for them to live in when there are bed bugs. It really affects their whole life. It’s quite different and eye-opening from working with elderly,” said Yong Seng, whose volunteering experience up until then had mostly been with seniors.
Despite the company’s culture of volunteering once every quarter, it was a first for the team to work directly with a beneficiary and fellow volunteer Jermaine Koh said being able to see the smiles on Mdm Noorasimah and her sons’ faces was the best part of the experience.
For Mdm Noorasimah, just the idea that people were coming to help was emotionally overwhelming. I’m so happy that you’ve come to help. I’m very happy,” she said with happy tears.
This session would not have been possible without the financial and manpower support from Dollar Delta X Advisors' Clique. Habitat Singapore extends our deepest thanks to our corporate partners who empower us to do what we do best - ensuring every one has a decent place to call home.
If you're looking for CSR partnerships, enquire more about how your company can get involved with Project HomeWorks. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org