This year, Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) celebrates 40 years of empowering life to the full. This is one of a series of stories from people empowered to help others through MWS over the years.
Mr Yan Yuelong was working as a cook in a hawker centre and was badly affected when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020. But he did not give up or fall into despair. Instead, he made the difficult switch to work as a warehouse worker to support his family.
His strength and resilience was however not developed overnight. In 2013, Mr Yan was struggling as a sole breadwinner for his family of seven, consisting of his wife, mother-in-law and four children. Although he worked long hours, the 44-year-old barely made enough as a cook to cover his family’s basic needs. Mr Yan’s financial situation worsened when his mother-in-law was diagnosed with kidney failure. The severe stress he was under also affected his relationship with his wife and children. Desperate for help, his wife approached MWS Covenant Family Service Centre (FSC) – Hougang.
MWS FSC first helped the family with their pressing financial issues by applying for subsidies to cover the transportation costs of sending Mr Yan’s mother-in-law for dialysis treatments and medical appointments. The family was also given cash vouchers and placed on a food ration programme that provided milk and diapers for his younger children.
Besides attending to the family’s immediate needs, the FSC also referred Mr Yan to the MWS Family Development Programme (FDP) that helped the family work towards financial stability and build assets to buffer against crises. Starting out with zero savings, Mr Yan committed to save $100 a month. For every dollar that he saved, MWS FDP matched it with $2. After being on FDP for two and a half years, the family eventually accumulated savings of more than $9,000 to use for emergencies and their children’s education.
Recognising the family’s holistic needs, MWS FSC also enrolled the couple in parent-child interaction therapy after observing that they had difficulties parenting their children. In line with MWS’ person-centred approach that recognises and taps on clients’ strengths, MWS Social Worker Ms Lynette Tan would encourage the couple whenever they applied the skills they had learnt on how they interact with their children. The couple has since grown more confident in managing and disciplining their children.
Looking back on his journey today, Mr Yan is thankful and appreciative for the timely support he had received from MWS. His wife is also currently working part-time at a school and contributing financially. MWS’ holistic approach not only empowered him to face pressing financial issues then, it has also prepared him to manage the challenges during the current pandemic. “I am very grateful towards MWS for all the help extended to us during our time of need. I hope many more will be able to receive such support and know that they need not walk this journey alone.”
By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team / Photo courtesy of MWS