Hoping to land a job and clear family's debts

Madam Nur Fadzelah Sapullah demonstrates some of the skills she learnt when she joined the eldercare training programme last November. For example, one lesson was how to properly carry an elderly patient so that both patient and caregiver are safe.
Madam Nur Fadzelah Sapullah demonstrates some of the skills she learnt when she joined the eldercare training programme last November. For example, one lesson was how to properly carry an elderly patient so that both patient and caregiver are safe.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

When her grandmother was ill a few years ago, Madam Nur Fadzelah Sapullah, 28, would shower and feed her. The housewife found meaning in that role.

So last year, when voluntary welfare organisation Daughters of Tomorrow (DOT) told her about an eldercare training programme it was starting, she quickly signed up.

The training offers hope for Madam Fadzelah.

Since remarrying in September 2014, she has been jobless. She and her young daughter, then four, moved out of her mother's home and into a rental flat with her second husband. She had to quit her sales job because there was no one to mind her little girl.

But her husband's job was unstable and he was also saddled with debt. For five months last year, the couple did not have any income when his former company was shut down.

Things started looking up about six months back when he got a job as a security guard but there are still debts to pay, including HDB rental flat fees and utility bills the family had racked up.

Last November, Madam Fadzelah joined the eldercare training programme. Now, she is going for interviews with employers whom DOT and the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) have partnered with.

"I want to go back to work, I really need a job urgently," said Madam Fadzelah. She added that she had never been in debt before and used to earn $1,400 a month at her sales job. "I want to clear the debt as fast as possible."

It is also easier for her to return to work as her daughter is now in primary school and can attend a student care centre until 7pm.

Some skills Madam Fadzelah picked up from the eldercare training include how to properly carry a patient so that both patient and caregiver are safe.

With full-time employment, Madam Fadzelah hopes to lift her family out of poverty.

"I want to buy a flat with my husband and take my daughter overseas - she has never been."

Kok Xing Hui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2017, with the headline 'Hoping to land a job and clear family's debts'. Print Edition | Subscribe