An account of an MTFA staff
A beneficiary's flat during a scheduled home visit
The MTFA Ihsan Aid team conducts regular home visits to check up on our beneficiaries and review if they need help at home such as repairs. I thought it would make work even more meaningful if I personally meet the beneficiaries whom we serve. What type of help do they need? How bad is their situation? So one day I followed our MTFA Ihsan Aid team member to their scheduled home visits.
Of the many beneficiaries we visited, one of them in particular pulled at my heartstrings tremendously. It was the home of a divorced single mother of two small children. She was not able to work because of an injury that causes her to feel pain every now and then. Both her children were in subsidised childcare and infant care.
During that visit, what moved me was spotting packs of diapers, alphabet and number charts on the stained wall of her tiny living room, some infant care supplies, and an infant car seat sitting randomly on the floor. Those were all items that I am familiar with as I also use similar ones as a mother. Mentally, I asked “Infant car seats are expensive! How can she afford it?” Curious, I asked “You seem to have an infant car seat. How old is your baby?” She responded, “Oh that’s not mine. I borrowed it from someone.” She needed the car seat to travel with her children occasionally on private-hire vehicles.
My heart sank. A car seat is something I am lucky to be able to buy from a store. I remember the excitement of researching good brands and models, reading reviews and safety features, and making comparisons among various brands. Here is another mother who was grateful for any free car seat, regardless of reviews, brands, or safety features.
As mothers, regardless of financial situation, we have this constant worry for our children. Do they eat well? Have they eaten? Are they sick? All mothers would want the best for their children, and it pains me to see another mother who just settles for whatever is available and what she can afford.
When hungry, I would be thinking “What do I feel like eating today? What’s healthy for the kids?” In that lady’s situation, she could be thinking “What ingredients can I afford to buy and cook? What’s available in the kitchen?” We are both mothers who worry for our children’s welfare, but we worry differently.
In this day and age, in a first world country, we are often surrounded by people who are financially adequate. You may have a friend who has just gotten the latest phone, or another friend who has just secured a BTO flat. However, it is rare to meet someone who depends on welfare aid and handouts in order to survive day-to-day.
This experience has opened my eyes to understand the beneficiaries better than I ever had. It also makes me more grateful for having enough for myself and my family, and I hope that MTFA’s beneficiaries receive the help they need because they really do need help.