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News from the media
Give hope to an abused mother
Source: ROHI/Sharifah
Date: Jun 12, 2018
Madam Siti’s* life is one that is tragic and fraught with abuse and injustice. Madam Siti, 26 years old, came from Bangladesh in 2013 in order to escape poverty and to earn a better life for her family. She met a Singaporean man the same year while working in Singapore who promised her a good life. Little did she know that it was a start of a life filled with abuse and great sadness. When Madam Siti was 7 months pregnant, the abuse started. Her ex-husband started hitting her with a belt and would torment her not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. The worst heartbreak for Madam Siti was not the abuse but rather, just 4 days after the birth of her daughter while still recuperating from a painful and traumatic childbirth, her ex-husband forced her to return to Bangladesh. She returned to Singapore 1 month later in order to reunite with her daughter however, she was instead chased away from her matrimonial home without seeing her new-born daughter. Without anywhere to stay and without her new-born daughter, she was referred to a shelter where she developed severe depression. Even though eventually Madam Siti was granted joint custody with visitation rights and the right to bring her daughter out to bond with her, her ex-husband and his family has repeatedly denied and prevented Madam Siti from seeing her daughter. It has since been 3 years without much contact with her daughter. Over the years she has repeatedly pleaded with her ex-husband to allow her to visit her daughter, however, each time she was denied her basic rights. Madam Siti was previously working and able to support herself as her ex-husband was her sponsor for her long-term visit pass. When her long-term visit pass expired, he refused to sponsor her and she is currently on social visit pass where she has to renew every month. Throughout our interview, Madam Siti broke down several times whenever her daughter was mentioned. As a mother, Madam Siti’s deepest wish is to be reunited with her daughter whom she has held and seen only a few times since her birth 3 years ago. Even though the court has granted her a monthly maintenance of S$500 a month, her ex-husband has defaulted payment. Madam Siti currently struggles financially as she is unable to work due to her social visit pass. ROHI has learnt that Madam Siti is no longer staying with her friend and is currently staying in an open market rental room. She is unable to afford the rent while she fights for custody of her Singaporean daughter. Madam Siti has various job offers and can immediately start work however, none of them met the salary requirements for a work permit. ROHI is therefore reopening assistance for 1 month room rental (S$300) while Madam Siti continues to fight for custody of her Singaporean daughter and hopefully finds a job with a salary that qualifies her for a work permit.
News from our Past Cases
Help a 80 year old ah ma with living expenses
Source: ROHI/ Shu Ying
Date: Jun 19, 2018
Despite being at an old age of 80 years old, Mdm Wong still struggles with her day to day living expenses. The 80 year old lives in a two room rental flat with her adopted daughter, and worries about how to make ends meet everyday. With the little that they have, the mother and daughter survive on bread on most days or are reliant on food donations to get by. When ROHI’s case managers visited ah ma, we can’t help but to notice how cluttered her house was. Piled with old worn items and confectionary items, it was difficult for the 80 year old to manoeuvre around. Ah ma explained that some of these items are either donated by kind strangers, or are finds that she picked up from her neighbourhood. Unfortunately, these products are also often near expiry dates or are snacks that she can’t consume due to her ill health.  Ah ma is diagnosed with a tumour on her neck and is currently undergoing follow up sessions with the hospital. She is also diagnosed with a series of chronic illnesses, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, that requires long-term medications. Medical conditions aside, the 80 year old also has physical difficulties walking around.  However, what worries her most is her adopted daughter (50+ years), who suffers from severe asthma and always falls ill. Ah ma is worried that there will be no one caring for her daughter should anything happens to her.  Her attempts to get social assistance has not been successful so far as she is categorised as stateless despite beng born and bred in Singapore her entire life. She lost any forms of family documentation during the war and is unable to recall the details of her childhood now. Ah ma’s parents passed on when she was at a young age, and hence, she is unable to retrieve any remnants of formal documentations.  ROHI would like to raise S$1250 (S$250 per month for five months) to help the elderly mother and daughter with living expenses. Your kind contribution will go a long way towards lightening their financial burdens!  

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