In 2016, homemaker Mdm Santhi was facing a challenging family situation. “I was feeling demoralised and upset all the time. My children weren’t able to attend school then, and I was worried that their education was being affected. Then, a friend of mine encouraged me to approach SINDA for help,” said the 40-year-old.
SINDA’s Family Service Centre assisted in enrolling Mdm Santhi’s children in primary and secondary school, and also introduced her to parenting and enrichment programmes available at SINDA. Till date, she has participated in Project Athena and the Triple-P Parenting Programme.
“During those tough times, I felt like I was at rock-bottom. And even after I recently decided to re-enter the workforce, I knew I had to be mindful of my capabilities and limits, so I could come up with a realistic plan for myself. Attending Project Athena helped me evaluate what I knew, and understand the actions I had to take,” said Mdm Santhi.
Under Project Athena, Mdm Santhi attended talks on women’s empowerment, where she learnt to identify her strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement. “Before attending Project Athena, I was mostly reserved, and I didn’t speak up. Over time, I developed the courage to voice out my opinions during sessions. With regards to career guidance, I picked up many resources and courses I could use for my self-improvement. I even received an award in recognition of my new-found confidence!”
Additionally, Mdm Santhi attended the Triple-P Programme to improve her parenting methods and understand her children better. “I’ve a background in early childhood education, so the programme added value to my knowledge. A key learning point was to set aside time to listen to my children. If they want to speak to me in private, they’ll write me messages and leave them in a box at home. Every two days or so, I’ll retrieve the messages and make it a point to talk to them individually about what they’ve written. My children have different characters and personalities, so I use different approaches for each of them. The programme has made me become a more empathetic mother – after learning to be a good listening ear for my kids, I’m able to understand them and address their needs.”
With her children settled in school, Mdm Santhi is able to devote more time to her own development. She has taken several SkillsFuture courses to upgrade herself, and is currently enrolled in a course at the Lifelong Learning Institute. “I was able to come this far, because of the encouragement and support from my mum, kids and relatives; they were my biggest supporters. As the saying goes – when one door closes, another door will open. So, hold on to anything that inspires you. To add to that, we also come across many women who are facing challenging situations. We should uplift them, instead of demoralising them further. Support other women; lend them a helping hand.”