Doubly Disabled, They Struggle on ……….
Tales from the dark side of two couples who never saw light and may never see if we don’t care for them. The Independent Society of the Blind (Singapore) does its share to help individuals and families who are partially or fully blind. As much as $110 a month is given to deserving individuals as welfare aid. However, it is still up to the community to decide for them.
The first story is about a man, who lost his sight at the age of one. He was stricken with high fever for 9 months that led him to lose his sight at a tender age. When his mother passed away, his grandmother sought a traditional medicine man for cure rather than sending him to hospital. As a result, Mr. Sakban bin Mansor could never see again for the rest of his life.
Mr. Mansor lost his sight due to his grandmother’s negligence, but the humble man at 55 today is still not angry with her. He said, when his father passed away in 1980, he was living with his sisters until they all got married.
He was living with one of his sister’s family before he got married recently. He said, living with his sister’s family was not easy. The family didn’t feel comfortable with him around and there was even a time when they refused to open the door one night. “I was terrified to know that I didn’t have a home and nobody wanted me. That night, I slept at the neighborhood police post. The next day, they brought me to the government Family Service Centre at Jurong West where I got help and eventually, my present 1-room flat.
Another family that also receives welfare aid from the independent Society of the Blind (Singapore) is the Ng family. The partially blind couple met in 1971. They got married in 1978 and have two brilliant daughters of age 20 and 17 today.
Mrs. Ng supports the family by working for the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) as a caretaker of orchid plants. The Independent Society of the Blind (Singapore) gives a monthly grant of $110 to Mrs. Ng. Her 17-year-old daughter also receives a bursary of $450 to pursue her Polytechnic education in Business Studies.
Mrs. Ng tells us, “Although my husband and I were born blind, our children have perfect eye sight. We got married because we could communicate with each other and share many experiences. But most of all, we needed the companionship.”
“We are grateful to the Society for helping with our daughter’s school fees. Before I had children, I used to baby-sit my sister’s kids for a living. I’m glad my children have grown to be considerate and live within our means. They have never felt disappointed that their parents are blind. My eldest daughter who has completed her study, gives tuition to pay for some part time courses she is pursuing.”The couple has no dreams for themselves. All they wish for is to live a simple normal life and stay in good health.
As they struggle on, why don’t we help them to achieve what they need. Let us help them and show that we care for them.