Just two years ago, it would have been unimaginable for 44-year-old Miko Lew, a single mother supporting three children and elderly parents-in-law, to be where she is today. Her husband had walked out on the family. Without a job or savings back then, her debt mounted and Miko spiralled into depression. Unable to deal with the pressure, she approached MWS Family Development Programme (FDP) and met Josephine Lim, a volunteer.
“Miko used to avoid opening her mail. She was afraid of seeing bills because she had no way of paying them. I worked with her to prioritise the ones to pay, and sought waivers wherever possible,” said Josephine.
With the help of MWS through Josephine, Miko gradually cleared $2,000 in debts within seven months. She then progressed to saving, receiving $2 from MWS for every $1 she saved on her own.
Her resolve was further tested in mid-2021 when her salary as a receptionist in the wellness industry was affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When her youngest daughter was issued a quarantine order, Miko had to take two weeks of unpaid leave to isolate with her daughter. With Josephine’s support, Miko not only stuck to her savings plan but also managed to pay all her bills punctually despite the financial and emotional pressures she was facing.
“Being on the MWS FDP has given me great peace of mind because I have Jo to journey with me, and emergency savings to fall back on should I ever need. There will still be challenges in the days ahead, but I believe I will be able to secure a brighter future for myself and my children because I’m not alone,” shared Miko.
Helping the low-income group find a way out of poverty
The MWS FDP is a proprietary poverty alleviation programme focused on asset-building, and targets low-income families in the bottom 10 per cent household income group in Singapore. The primary aim of the programme is to create sustainable positive change by increasing the net worth of families through debt and savings matching. The programme provides holistic support through counselling and casework, befriending and financial literacy training.
For every $1 contributed by the families to reduce debt or to add to their savings, MWS will match with $2. Since the programme started in April 2016, MWS FDP has empowered over 500 families. Those families who have been released from debt have experienced significantly less stress and anxiety, and gained emotional capacity and cognitive bandwidth to plan for the future.
While we celebrate the growing number of families we have the privilege to empower, available funds for this programme are projected to run out by April 2022. As there is no government funding for this programme, MWS relies entirely on donations to keep this programme going. Let us love our neighbours and be a blessing by donating generously today. Your support is critical to helping more individuals like Miko build a sustainable future—through MWS FDP and other life-empowering programmes run by MWS.
Scan the QR Code or visit https://mws.sg/product/let-more-believe/ to find out more.
By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team / Photos and visuals courtesy of MWS