Family service centre in Bukit Batok helps Muslim women deal with struggles amid Covid-19 pandemic

Six-year-old Dini Eiman Mohamed Hilmi (centre right) reading a Mothers' Day message and giving an A2 message canvas to President Halimah Yacob (centre left), on May 5, 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
President Halimah Yacob speaking at the PPIS Family Service Centre West during her visit there on May 5, 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Muslim women from disadvantaged families have been supplementing their household income amid job losses and wage cuts, but many are not aware that they can receive help, President Halimah Yacob said on Wednesday (May 5).

Speaking to reporters during a visit to the newly renovated family service centre the Singapore Muslim Women's Association (PPIS) runs in Bukit Batok, Madam Halimah said: "The family service centre here provides a very good touch point for them to come into access to services, whether it's financial, housing or education."

Noting that some of the women have heavy responsibilities at home and can commit to home-based work only, Madam Halimah said the PPIS family service centre can help them acquire the skills, capabilities and connections for home-based baking and other kinds of home-based work.

The centre assisted over 3,000 beneficiaries between 2019 and 2020, and conducted a survey of 1,000 women to understand their needs and aspirations, to see how they and their families can be helped.

The programmes are multi-faceted, and include financial support and marriage counselling.

Madam Halimah said she was happy to see the PPIS centre embedded in the community and supporting women and their families.

"Challenges faced by the community have evolved and are now a lot more complex. I think the challenge for all social service agencies is to come up with new ideas and innovative practices to reach out to their beneficiaries," she added.

Ms Hazlina Abdul Halim, president of PPIS, said the centre was improved to make its services more accessible to families in need.

"The whole idea is to offer support (through) case work and counselling services so that residents we serve are able to find their footing and really be stronger versions of themselves," she added.

Renovations were completed in March, and more counselling rooms were added.

Among other things, the centre offers the Support @ Home programme for mothers from low-income families who are coping with multiple roles and responsibilities.

By sharing experiences, the women learn to be emotionally resilient and competent in managing their roles and responsibilities.

The centre offers the Support @ Home programme for mothers from low-income families who are coping with multiple roles and responsibilities. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Ms Raudhah Abdullah took part in the programme during circuit breaker last year for eight weeks.

She attended weekly sharing sessions online with four other participants and two trainers.

The 30-year-old had to juggle the sessions with running a home-based online business and taking care of her two children.

"During circuit breaker, husbands were working and the kids were at home. It was difficult for some mothers to cope with the stress of all that.

"For two hours during the session, we got to express our feelings. Some mothers just needed others to talk to," she said.

Founded in 1952, PPIS is a non-profit organisation focused on providing services for women, families and children.

Its core services include family services, student care and early childhood education.

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