“We don’t have to meet very big needs… sometimes, just [meeting their] basic needs can help them.”
Twice a month, occupational therapist Adelene comes down to our office in Geylang to help our migrant friends heal from their injuries.
She started volunteering with us over a year ago in 2019, hoping to use her skills in an area outside our regular clinic sessions. One benefit of this, she notes, is that she can spend more time (from 30 minutes to an hour, sometimes more) with each client.
The clients that are referred to her are ones whose rehabilitation sessions elsewhere do not seem to be sufficient or effective, or those who cannot afford external treatment.
“I hope to meet a need where there is a gap,” she tells us. And that is exactly what she does — she supplements external instructions, elaborating and correcting where applicable. Many of her clients are motivated and she is glad to have seen improvement in most of them over time. Each case of improved mobility and decreased reliance on painkillers, she says, is a success story.
Nevertheless, a prominent challenge is a psychological fear of pain that impedes progress in their recovery. A session we observed last week, for example, involved a worker that had not dared to use his left hand even six months after an injury, despite the injury only being skin-deep. Thankfully, we were heartened to see much improvement after three sessions with Adelene.
As she sits down with each client to identify their concerns, she continues to learn more about their culture and the personal difficulties they face. “I feel glad that I can play a part in relieving part of their burden,” she shares. Her experience has also helped her realise how fortunate Singaporeans are and has further encouraged her to help where she can.
We thank volunteers like Adeline for dedicating their time and expertise to help our migrant friends live a life of dignity!