A safe haven for the vulnerable

Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home (CSLMCH) was founded by Dr Chen Su Lan (1885–1972). A doctor, anti-opium campaigner and devout Methodist, he set up the Chen Su Lan Trust for charitable purposes.

It was Dr Chen’s desire to establish a home for orphans and children who were World War II victims and living in poverty, regardless of their race or religion. Coincidentally, at that time, members of Wesley Methodist Church (WMC) wanted to start an outreach programme to help needy and disadvantaged children.

In 1968, WMC and the Chen Su Lan Trust leased a two-acre plot of land near Changi together and built the first Children’s Home at Kampong Ayer Gemuroh. The Home cared for 19 children aged between four and 14. Most of them stayed until they finished school at 16.

In 1977, when the government acquired the Kampong Ayer Gemuroh site for the new Changi International Airport, the Home relocated to a temporary location at Seletar Air Base. Seven years later, it moved to its present premises on Serangoon Garden Way.

Since then, CSLMCH has seen many infrastructural additions, including upgraded dormitories, a multi-purpose hall and therapy rooms. The Home was gazetted in 2006 under the Children and Young Persons Act as an “Approved Home and a Place of Safety” for children with special needs and victims of physical, sexual or emotional abuse.

CSLMCH is home to children and youths referred by the Court and the Ministry of Social and Family Development because
• they are too challenging for their parents, or
• their parents are unable to care for them, e.g. owing to financial reasons, parental absence or incarceration, mental illness, or
• the parents are not allowed to care for them, e.g. as a result of abuse, neglect or court orders.

Today, CSLMCH cares for over 80 children and youths between the ages of six and 21. While they are with us, we provide them a home environment, food, clothing and healthcare. We also reach out to our residents’ families to strengthen efforts in caring for the residents. In reaching out to disadvantaged children and their families, we are living out the Methodist heritage of social responsibility as exemplified by John Wesley, who ministered to people’s physical, intellectual, spiritual and social needs.

Coming from abusive, broken or dysfunctional families, many of the children also need psychological intervention to help them deal with past trauma and pain. Thus, therapeutic and holistic care is provided to encompass each child’s emotional healing and development. In line with the mission to nurture happy individuals able to contribute to society, the Home has implemented Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) as a core model of care to address both emotional needs and the social environment. Our social workers, counsellors and psychologists provide support and counselling while our education department monitors academic performance and organises tuition as needed.

In addition, we provide pastoral care and loving Christian nurture with the goal of instilling biblical values and helping the children develop Christ-like character, to help them cope with their lives and prepare them for reintegration with their family and the community at large. Collaboration with Methodist churches has also given our residents opportunities to participate in Christian activities, such as camps, as well as Easter and Christmas events, besides the Home’s regular chapel services and care group ministry.

This year, we celebrated our 50th Anniversary and thank all who supported our anniversary events, including Chef Heman’s Charity Dinner, the Musical Feast Concert, CSLMCH Flag Day and the Anniversary Charity Dinner. We thank God for His faithfulness in guiding and sustaining CSLMCH for the past 50 years. Truly, God has blessed us through the provision of resources, including staff, volunteers and church support.

The residents will be celebrating Christmas with their families at the Annual Thanksgiving Concert to be held in the Home. This year’s concert brings residents and their families together to enjoy a thanksgiving meal and performances by the children and youth.

Volunteers, partners and donors have played important roles in providing care and shelter for our residents. We welcome more help for mentorship and pastoral care. We also pray that Methodist churches will support us through prayer, chapel ministry, and worship, as well as financial assistance, especially for residents after they leave CSLMCH.

Please pray for:

  • the safety of residents
  • God’s protection against every form of sin and bondage faced by residents and their families
  • residents to experience God’s love and be transformed
  • God to restore the residents’ families so that they can be successfully re-integrated.

Testimony by an ex-resident

CSLMCH was my home from the time I was 12. I came from a very difficult family background where my family could not support my education or personal well-being.

It has been almost three years since I left the Home. Looking back on what the people in the Home have done and are still doing for me, my heart is filled with immense joy and gratitude! Through the years, they have showered me with love and care. No matter where I am, they reach out to me and make sure that I am doing well physically, emotionally and spiritually.

It has been said that “it takes a village to raise a child”, and this was indeed my real-life experience. While at CSLMCH, I learnt many meaningful lessons from the maintenance uncles, kitchen helpers, care staff, office staff and social workers. Their individual and collective efforts to love and care for the children in CSLMCH, and even for me to this very day, cannot be described in words!

Most importantly, I thank God for the amazing life He has given me. Although I did not start well, I know I am going to finish well. He placed me in CSLMCH for a reason, giving me a home, family and love. He alone deserves all praise and glory!

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13–14)

Ka, 23 years old

Photos courtesy of Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home