Rehabilitating Homes, Restoring Lives
Updated: Jun 22
Various study sources have shown that a home environment sets the very foundations of one’s formative years - in particular well-being, and the ability to navigate and thrive in adulthood. More than just shelter, home is the centre from which all else flows.
Beneath the extreme clutter piled up with barely any space to move, the stale, musty air of excretion and dust, lies an unspoken hope for family reunification.
Throughout her marriage, 53 year old Mdm Aidah moved houses four times. At their second move, things took a downturn. Her ex-husband sold the flat they were living in, and squandered the proceeds away in debauchery. Finances became a topic of strife in the household - while there were no financial contributions from him, he became verbally abusive, and often demanded money from Mdm Aidah.
To make ends meet, Mdm Aidah worked in Changi Airport for a period of time. This allowed her to save up for her current two room-rental flat, which she got to purchase under her name.
At one point in time when Mdm Aidah and ex-husband were pursuing a divorce, she fell into depression. In an attempt to put an end to the family’s financial predicament, two of her daughters resorted to fraud and were sentenced to Reformative Training centre (RTC) by court order. This was the final trigger that led Mdm Aidah to spiral into a deeper state of depression. Her mental health challenges made it especially difficult for her to hold on to a full-time job for long.
On top of that, Mdm Aidah had asthma, type-2 diabetes, and recently underwent gastric bypass surgery. These conditions prevented her from upkeeping the state and cleanliness of her home, which further worsened her asthma.
When we spoke to the mother of four, we found out that her children were unable to find work due to upcoming court cases involving a gang fight. Her eldest son is currently working as a GrabFood delivery rider.
“For awhile, my boy got a job to wash buses. They gave him $100 cash payment. He came back with the money, and asked me, “Mother, morning want to buy what (breakfast)?” I told him, “Half you keep, top up your ez-link everything. Not sure what happened, think his friend played him - awhile later, he stopped working. He tried looking for work, but we can’t afford transport concession. So now he is waiting for calls from nearby (job offers). Because of this, I also missed medical appointments.”
Mdm Aidah is currently separated from two of her sons due to the condition of the home. She looks forward to being reunited with them after her home is clean and safe once more.
Mdm Aidah is receiving ComCare Short-term assistance - which pays for her family’s expenses, and aids in repaying her financial debts. She has also been working with the Family Service Center (FSC) on budgeting and better financial management.
After four intensive sessions of decluttering, cleaning, caulking and painting, it is with great hope that the new space will be the pivoting point of change for Mdm Aidah and family.
Growing up in an unhealthy and unsanitary home strife with tension and conflict may lead to long-term negative consequences such as intellectual, social, behavioural, emotional problems as well as health issues.
More than just providing a strong and stable roof over their heads, the work we do at Habitat Singapore has a ripple effect that transcends beyond the four walls. A strong and stable home foundation means improved health and a better quality of life for our homeowners. A sanitary, pest-free and safe home foundation also means greater focus on saving and investing in education for families, and a peace of mind for our elderly folks to enjoy their golden years.
This Hari Raya Puasa, as our Muslim friends and family gather to celebrate this joyous occasion, let’s not forget about homeowners like Mdm Aidah, who may not have a safe and sanitary space to celebrate in.
You too, can spread the festive cheer to our neighbours living in Singapore and in Batam, by donating to support our work at: habitat.give.asia. Every dollar counts to transform the life of someone in need.