For most families, their husbands and fathers are their heroes who will shelter them from any harm and danger. Sadly, this was not the case for Estella and her 20 months old son. When we met up with Estella, she shared with us that she recalls being physically abused by her husband even during her confinement despite her repeated pleas. She remembers every single day being a living hell when she was struggling to full-time work and being the one to take care of their newborn child then. In February 2018, her 23-year-old husband was arrested and subsequently incarcerated for substance abuse after she reported him to the police for fear of her child's safety. Since his incarceration, life continues to be a struggle for Estella. Although her husband has never contributed financially to the family or even shown concern for their child, it now meant that she now has to take on dual roles of being the breadwinner for the family as well as the caregiver for her child.
Estella has two other older brothers aged 29 and 26 years old. Her 29 year old brother was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth. Her parents were divorced, and Estella is not in regular contact with her father. She often feels helpless looking at how her mother is also struggling to make ends meet despite working so hard, and hopes that things will change for the better for them soon. She shared with us that she sometimes feels trapped crushed underneath a mountain of responsibilities. Estella used to work as a clinic assistant but resigned after her husband was arrested.
With her low education level, Estella understands that her career choices become extremely limited. Having a limited social network also does not help in her current situation. She often feels the guilt of not being able to provide her child with the best, she is determined to start her life afresh with her child.
In spite of her struggles, Estella showed a strong resistance in dealing with her emotional hardships, just so that she can provide her child with the best environment that she could provide. Estella shared with us that since her parents' divorce many years ago, she has always felt inferior to her peers.
Estella is currently applying for a Personal Protection Order (PPO) for herself against her husband. She has also appealed to HDB for an alternative accommodation in hope of providing her son with a safe environment.
ROHI would like to raise S$1,120 ($280 x 4 months) to help the 22-year-old mum cope with milk and diapers expenses while she continues to seek employment.