OCBC-TODAY Children’s Fund
Art Exhibition - Finding Home
Sarah's name has been changed to protect her identity.
While her peers busied themselves with school work and attended their friends' birthday parties, little Sarah was fighting to stay afloat.
For years, she was physically abused by her biological father, an odd-job labourer.
When her plight was uncovered, the authorities removed her from her family and put her under the care of the Singapore Chidlren Society (SCS). She was only nine years old.
A scrawny, under-nourished child who had difficulty articulating her thoughts, she shied away from those who approached her.
She was unable to speak proper English and could not properly interact with her teachers and friends.
Bryan's name had been changed to protect his identity.
He is only 12, but his drawings tell a sad story. A story of a world filled with gloom and sorrow.
Dark, angry faces and harsh, deeply-etched lines adorn once -pristine sheets of drawing paper – signs of a childhood stolen.
Bryan's mother passed away when he was seven and his father is in prison. His grandmother, who cared for him, fell sick and was unable to look after him. Eventually, he was put in the care of Sunbeam Place, a gazetted Place of Safety for children under SCS.
By then, he has turned into an angry child who threw violent, uncontrollable tantrums. He also developed a habit of touching people inappropriately. No one wanted to be his friend.
Lonely and afraid, Bryan sought solace in music, and was often found sitting in a corner of his room.
divorced or separated
with new family members
physical or emotional abuse
sense of self worth
the responsibility to raise
present and future families
Ms Christina Appadoo, Deputy Director at Singapore Children's Society Jurong Youth Centre, talks about the extreme ways children can react to stress.
Sarah was enrolled in a speech therapy programme which involved one-to-one reading sessions aimed to build her confidence and encourage her to articulate her thoughts.
She also had to undergo character-building and mentorship programmes to improve her social skills.
As a result of regular abuse by her father, she had to be nursed back to health with treatment and supplements.
Bryan had to undergo treatment at the Institute of Mental Health to overcome his problem of touching people. He had to learn new social interaction skills with the help of his social workers.
To help Bryan overcome his anger and hostility issues, SCS placed him in anger management and character development programmes.
Seeing that Bryan had a keen interest in music, SCS enrolled him in a weekly arts programme that gave him an outlet to express what he cannot verbalise.
Continuous therapy is necessary to teach Bryan the proper values and build his sense of self-worth.
Mr Chee Thow Wei Liat, Counsellor at Singapore Children’s Society Children Service Centre, shares that a huge part of the work comes from rehabilitation for families that are already facing some form of need. As we learn more we might be able to prevent such scenarios from happening.
Ms Christina Apppadoo, Deputy Director at Singapore Children’s Society Jurong Youth Centre talks about how therapy in the arts help create a sense of achievement and purpose, it's a good way for them to express what they cannot express through words.
In Sarah's case, her therapy programmes would cost $145 per week or $7,600 a year.
Based on Sarah's condition, her counsellor estimates that she would require 2.5 years of therapy programmes which would amount to $19,000.
Slow response to programmes could extend her therapy sessions to as long as 5 years, costing $38,000.
Unlike Sarah, Bryan faces different challenges in his life and therefore needs other types of counselling and therapy sessions.
Bryan requires 3 different types of therapy and treatments that cost $130 per week or $6,800 per year.
A complete holistic rehabilitative programme of 2.5 years would cost $17,000. If recovery is slow, treatment may take as long as 5 years, costing as much as $34,000.
Dr Caroline Balhetchet, Director of Youth Services at SCS shares her personal experience in helping a school dropout build his self-worth over time, find his calling in life, and watching him become a successful business owner.
For Taufiq, RoundBox run by the SCS for youths from distressed families was a place where he sought solace from his parents' frequent arguments at home. It was there that he discovered that he's not alone, and that there is kindness and help for him.
Find out how things took on a different direction for Taufiq after he started going to Roundbox and how that got him to where he is today.
Read Taufiq's story here.
Recovery is a daily struggle. For as little as $25 a day, you can help them take that first step. Help them to succeed in life.
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