After helping to process one cycle of financial assistance, the women on our Digital and Family Competence Enabling Team (AWB- 2033) told us that they really valued the flexible work hours that enabled them to attend to their children and household matters. Working from home on a computer was an entirely new experience that they savoured.
The efforts of these women have helped us reach more families whose household income have been badly reduced by COVID-19. As on today, we have committed $2.6 million to 1571 families and by end of this month, we would have disbursed $2.1 million.
These women went about their assigned task diligently but also with much humility and determination to overcome the challenges that come with trying something new. One realised that despite the long hours, she was not submitting as many applications as she would have liked. After a chat with her supervisor, she realised that her conversations with applicants were meaningful and enjoyable but not focused enough to complete the application promptly. Now, to optimise her day, she would schedule all her calls in advance by fixing appointments via SMS prior.
Another shared that she found it uncomfortable asking for sensitive information such as income and found herself constantly apologising for being intrusive. She also said that it was difficult because she felt emotional hearing about situations that were worse than her own.
What these women may have lacked in efficiency, they well made it up with empathy and neighbourly concern. Upon contacting a father with 4 children, our enabler learnt that he was at the hospital with his wife who had a medical emergency. After finding out more about the situation, she told the man to keep his wife company and got his permission to bring food to his children.
Also, having benefited from government assistance schemes previously, they were well placed to advise how to access them. So, one enabler related how she had persuaded a grandmother to take a day off to visit a social service office. She explained to the grandmother that being the main caregiver of young children, she needed more substantial support and promised to accompany her.
The loss of a job is always upsetting but for one financial assistance applicant, it meant having to return to a half-way house and separating from her children whom she had just reunited with. Serving the rest of her custodial sentence in the community was dependent on her being gainfully employed. She is now resigned to finishing her term at the half-way house but is comforted that her family will be financially supported.
Wishing you health, and peace of mind.
If there were ever a time to say, “I’ll fight for someone I don’t know,” this is it. If we ever meant it when we said, “an injury to one is an injury to all,” now we’re seeing why that’s so. – Jane Slaughter