Generation Acts Club International http://gen-acts.org/ is a partner who has been providing weekly learning support activities to 10 children the past 3 months. In all, more than 15 children have visited their programme but only 10 have been regular. These volunteers take pains to prepare activities that are engaging and fun. So, when children do not show up, it is understandably a little disappointing. Currently, these volunteers have stopped their activities to review their efforts and we suggested that that they visit the children’s families to get a better appreciation of their students’ background.
At their first stop, they met Rani a single mother of 4 who shared how pleased she was that she managed to secure a 2-room rental flat in a new neighbourhood for her children. She explained that it was important for their comfort now that they are “older and bigger.” Rani has a constant pain in her right arm that she has been carrying for years after an infection. Doctors have told her that she will never be able to regain the strength in her arm and she will have to learn to manage the chronic pain. As such, she finds it difficult securing employment, but it was obvious from her cheerful chatter about her family that the discomfort does not stop her from fulfilling her role as a mother.
Next, the volunteers met the Chans whose home appeared cluttered at first sight. However, after a closer look, they realised that the living room was filled with the tools of dad’s trades. Mom is a home-maker that ensures that these tools do not encroach into meals and sleeping arrangements and the children try not to get in the way when dad is repairing the electric scooters that neighbours and friends bring to fix. Apart from fixing electric scooters, dad takes on assignments with 3 different food delivery services and the food carriers are his other tools that are neat stacked up in his living room. Mom tells us she is really proud of how hard her husband works just to keeps thing afloat for all at home.
Finally, that evening they met Norra and her husband who welcomed them warmly and told them how pleased they were that children in their neighbourhood had a programme that helped them learn and catch up with their school work. They were especially happy that they own children spoke about the programme enthusiastically. Norra and her husband were most amiable, and they shared how they were childhood sweethearts who decided to start a family. Norra’s husband then chipped in saying that he decided to marry her after seeing how she could stretch $50 for a week’s dinners. Without missing a beat, Norra proudly elaborated how it is actually done. On a more sombre note, both hoped that their children would never have their experience of being incarcerated. Several years ago, out of desperation they handled contraband, but the law caught up with them quickly.
At the end of the evening, Karen – a Gen-Acts volunteer reflected that meeting the families left her with a sense of respect for their resilience. She marvelled at how challenges whether it was a medical condition, a home infested by bedbugs or the inability to replace malfunctioning household items were always taken in one’s stride. People just got on with their life regardless and she believes that they have resolved to be strong for the sake of their children.
Enjoy your week.
A father’s goodness is higher than the mountain, a mother’s goodness deeper than the sea. – Japanese Proverb