Singapore

Halfway house helps improve homes of families

Home-based learning was a struggle for Madam Siti Hajar's 10-year-old son before the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB)-Ashram Halfway House stepped in to help.

Now, he not only has a new laptop but a study table as well, said the housewife, 44, who is a widow.

Her daughter, Miss Nur Fatin Hidayah, 18, said: "My brother was using his cousin's old laptop which would shut down suddenly."

As a beneficiary of the halfway house's new community outreach initiative, Project Home Pride, the family's living conditions are now much better.

The initiative to renovate and refurbish homes is a collaboration with Sembawang GRC, which helped identify the first two families. The other is an Indian family of four.

NEW SKILLS

Through the project, the halfway house residents are able to apply new skills they have acquired from various programmes offered by Ashram and do their bit for the community.

This is part of their rehabilitative and reintegration programme, said chairman of HEB-Ashram Halfway House, Professor N. Ganapathy.

He hopes that Project Home Pride will have a positive impact on the residents: "When they know that they can touch other people's lives, it acts as a turning point."

HEB-Ashram Halfway House was started in 1999 as a halfway house to rehabilitate and reintegrate Indian substance abusers into society.

Over the last two decades, it has supported about 1,200 residents and their families. It currently houses 18 people aged 32 to 74, and is co-funded by the Singapore Prison Service and HEB.

Residents take part in different activities such as individual or group counselling, motivational talks, art therapy and meditation as part of their rehabilitation process.

One of the residents involved in Project Home Pride - who wanted to be known only as Sara, 46 - said he was happy to make a difference and hopes to continue to do charity work even after he leaves the halfway house.

Madam Siti and her children, who also had their house repainted, old appliances replaced and new furniture brought in, are grateful for the help.

One of their first visitors yesterday was Sembawang GRC MP and Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.

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