In 2015, Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) developed the GOOD (Getting Out of Debt) programme to commemorate The Methodist Church in Singapore’s 130th anniversary and Singapore’s 50th Jubilee. Methodist churches contributed generously to GOOD, providing one-time debt clearance that year to over 650 families in need. These families burdened with chronic debt from the cost of everyday living.
The Social Service Research Centre at the National University of Singapore (NUS), in collaboration with MWS, surveyed nearly 200 GOOD beneficiaries. In March this year, the findings were published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a top multi-disciplinary scientific journal.
The study found that:
- Chronic debt hurts the ability of the poor in Singapore to think clearly and make good decisions, meaning the impact is not only financial, but also psychological.
- Debt impairs cognitive and psychological functioning, and it is extremely challenging for the indebted poor to escape poverty.
- After debt relief, a person’s anxiety levels decreased significantly, and decision-making and psychological functioning greatly improved.
After the GOOD programme ended, we launched the MWS Family Development Programme in June 2016.
Incorporating what had been learnt from an earlier debt relief pilot, the MWS Family Development Programme takes a holistic, systematic approach to empower beneficiaries to clear debt through a monthly debt clearance and savings matching scheme. In addition, the programme promotes the taking of ownership of their debts, and trains beneficiaries to cultivate positive and financially sound money management habits. In FY17/18, we helped 156 families, empowering them to make better financial decisions for their household.
We are thankful for the Methodist community’s compassion and support for low-income families struggling with chronic debt. Continue to partner us in helping more families get out of debt and build assets through the MWS Family Development Programme. Together, we can change their lives for GOOD.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Heb 13:16)
By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team
If you would like to help more low-income families get out of debt through the MWS Family Development Programme, please donate at https://give.mws.sg or scan the QR code. Thank you!
For more information on the programme: