Changing for the better

Oh Lee Shan Stories

With the support of caring mentors from the Supervised Homework Group (SHG), Madam Chow Foong Yee’s two children became more responsible and diligent in their studies.

It was a very heart-warming moment for the family when Mdm Chow Foong Yee’s 15-year-old son Yong Hui received the Edusave Merit Bursary in February last year. Upon hearing the good news about his achievement, Yong Hui’s 11-year-old sister told her brother that she could have received the bursary too, if she had worked harder last year. In response, Yong Hui encouraged her by saying they would work hard together, so that they could both receive the bursary next year. This conversation was a great comfort to Madam Chow, knowing that her children would encourage and motivate each other to do better.

When Yong Hui was in Primary 5, his school realised he had a learning disability, and Madam Chow approached CDAC for help. As a result, Yong Hui joined the SHG in 2016. His SHG mentor was Tan Xin Wen, 34, who has been volunteering since 2009. Xin Wen observed that while Yong Hui could be rebellious, he was also an intelligent and thoughtful boy. He decided to focus on Yong Hui’s positive attributes, and guided him in managing his temper and becoming more responsible.

As time passed, Madam Chow realised that Yong Hui had become more diligent and sensible. When he received his results from the Primary School Leaving Examination, he even cried because he had not managed to achieve the grades that he had promised Xin Wen. Such disappointment did not deter him from continuing to work hard; now a student at Yuying Secondary School, Yong Hui has stepped up his efforts in his studies.

As for Yi Xin, the Xinghua Primary School student had started to struggle with emotional problems last year. Madam Chow received several calls from Yi Xin’s school and tuition centre informing her that her daughter had not completed her homework and had failed to attend tuition classes.

Once again, Madam Chow turned to her caseworker for help. Under the care and guidance by SHG’s volunteer mentor, Yi Xin became more emotionally stable. Madam Chow, a part-time cleaner, decided to work less so that she could spend time with Yi Xin when her daughter returned home from school. As Yi Xin’s emotional balance improved, Madam Chow was able to feel more at ease when she went to work.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made life more difficult for the family. Madam Chow’s husband, Mr Low, has lost his job as a delivery truck driver. Madam Chow’s income is also affected. Meanwhile, they continue to shoulder the cost of Mr Low’s dementia-stricken mother’s stay in an old folks’ home. Despite these challenges, the positive changes in her children has given Madam Chow the strength to persevere.