Stories

Saying goodbye to an old friend, S

“Come, try this!” Sudipta, one of our caseworkers, said as she extended a tin of Bangladeshi sweets to everyone in the office. “He brought it for us.” – S, beaming in his bright purple shirt, was previously a migrant brother who sought help from HealthServe. Waving ‘hello’ to all of us, he seemed happy to be back. Turns out, he had just received his injury compensation from MOM. 

He almost immediately asked our Comms Interns if she wanted to see a picture of his daughter. Before she could utter a reply, he showed his wallpaper which was a picture of his beloved daughter. While he was away working, he said his daughter would cry and call out for him over the phone. 

In August 2017, S fell from a ladder at his worksite. There were supposed to be other workers holding down the ladder, but he recalled that his supervisor said there was no need. As a result of his accident, he fractured his hand and was rushed to Tan Tock Seng for an operation. Fortunately, company insurance was able to fund his surgery and hospital bills. 

However, S’s situation took a turn for the worse. Soon after the accident, his company closed down and they refused to pay him his MC wages. He was still in pain from his injury but without a salary, he could not afford check-ups. This is when he heard about HealthServe from a friend. 

At HealthServe, he was able to have free doctor appointments and make a steady recovery. Our caseworkers helped him file a WICA claim and then subsequently referred him to a lawyer for a common law suit. With no income or a place to call his own, S also relied on HealthServe for monthly MRT top-ups and meals as part of our Food Project for 7 months. S described it as a very stressful time as he had many things to worry about: his daughter, his debt and his case. The perpetual uncertainty of his fate weighed heavily on his mind. Eventually, S went home to Bangladesh to be with his family as he awaited the outcome of his case. 

Two years after the accident, S received the news that he was going to receive his rightful compensation. The long and arduous wait was over, he was finally able to fly to Singapore to collect it. With his compensation, he was able to pay off his lawyer and agency fees and build a new farm back home in Jessore, Bangladesh. He was even able to treat the Jalan Besar team to lunch! 

When asked why S returned even after his case had closed, he replied cheekily, “HealthServe a lot of friends. Now you also, mah! Correct or not?” As he recounted the outings he attended with us, describing the laughs and the lights of Orchard Road that surrounded him during Christmas of 2017, it was obvious that he did not plainly see HealthServe as the free services he received. To S, it meant the warmth of community, or one could even say family. And that day, family came back to visit. 

We wish S all the best in Bangladesh. Here at HealthServe, we try hard to make sure our brothers’ cases have the best outcome possible and it is stories like S’s that give us hope and remind us of why we continue to do this!

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