City Harvest Church contributes to the charity walkathon organized by Pertapis for its children’s home.
By Dawn Seow
Started in the 1970s by a group of passionate Muslim scholars, Pertapis is now an organization that serves children, troubled and abused girls and women, male young offenders, ex-convicts, and senior citizens.
A team from City Harvest Church visited the organization’s children home on Sep. 26 to bring a love gift of S$8,000.This donation came from the offerings collected at CHC’s third all-night prayer meeting on Sep. 21. The church is committed to donating part of the offerings collected from each prayer meeting to a charity organization each week.
A PASSION TO DEVELOP THE NEXT GENERATION
The Children’s Home was established in 1990 to house underprivileged children, aged 5 to 12, from dysfunctional families, or who are abused or neglected and in need of care and protection. Besides providing residential care, the home also aims to give the children a supportive environment for them to grow up with confidence, good health and a happy state of mind.
Situated in an old school building in the Kovan estate, Pertapis Children’s Home has two buildings which serve as dormitories for the children, as well as a large open space area where the children can play. A few corporate companies have volunteered their services to make the old school building a conducive environment for children to grow up in. One corporation planted a garden that boasts fruit trees and vegetables while another organization painted the walls with cheerful pictures. Rooms that used to be classrooms have been converted to comfortable sleeping areas.
The staff of the home are trained to provide a systematic way to care for their 37 male and 31 female residents. The children go through three stages of rehabilitation when they enter the home: the induction phase, intervention phase, and the re-integration phase.
When the children first enter the home, the social workers help them familiarize themselves with their new environment and their new caregivers–this is the start of the induction phase. The social workers would also furnish an individualized care plan for the child by engaging their parents and doing an analysis of his existing needs.
After the child has settled in the home, the social workers will start them on the next phase of the program–the intervention phase. The first thing done at the intervention phase is to bring the child back to their original school. The home painstakingly sends the child to his original school even if it means the child needs to take a taxi to school.
“It is already challenging enough for a child to have to adapt to his new life in a home; if we were to transfer them to a new school, it might just be too much for them to handle. That is why we would prefer to re-instate them back to their original school instead of transferring them to a school near our home,” shared Haloyah Atan, administrator of the home.
The home also provides different programs to help children develop academically, socially, mentally and emotionally. Program Kidzz Learn are conducted by professional tutors for children in Primary 3 through 6 to help in their school work. The program Kidzz Smart teaches them social skills and character development, while Kidzz Health gives the children an opportunity to express themselves through art, sports, dance, music and drama. Finally, Kidzz Ethics teaches them religious and moral values.
Besides giving help to students in mainstream schools, the home also cares for children with special needs. There are 10 special needs children in the home currently, and the home provides them with special needs tutors to help them academically.
“The ultimate goal of our home is to re-integrate the children back to their own homes,” said Zainal Abidin Omar, Divisional Manager of Pertapis. The home works closely with the parents to work towards bringing the child home. Once the parents are ready, the child will be given a trial home leave. During this period, the social workers in the home would continue to monitor the child, working together with his school. Teachers can usually detect a problem at home if the student fails to show up in school or if he behaves abnormally in school.
Like many not-for-profit homes in Singapore, Pertapis Children’s Home only receives a subsidy for the fees of each child from the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. Their challenge is to raise funds for the remaining amount needed to pay for its daily operations.
Another challenge faced by the home is the lack of manpower. Because of the difficult nature of its work, the home sees a high employee turnover rate. Their challenge is to look after more than 60 children under the age of 12 with just 15 care staff working on three rotating shifts.
To raise funds for the children home, Pertapis will be organizing a charity walkathon on Nov 4. Every month the home face a deficit of about S$35,000 and the walkathon aims to raise funds to reduce this monthly deficit.
The message they carry for this walkathon is “Many Steps Change Our Life”. The funds collected will go to paying for tuition classes; enrichment programs focusing on reading skills, study skills, mathematical skills and life and social skills; school expenses including pocket money, fees, projects, uniforms, text books and transportation; organizing workshops for parents on parental skills and their children’s development; provision of meals and basic necessities for residents; and Pertapis’ Welfare Assistance Scheme for needy families.
The amount donated by CHC goes to this fundraising effort.
Tan Ye Peng, deputy senior pastor of CHC said that besides giving a donation, it is also important to bring a personal touch to the charity organization. “It is always good to visit the homes and come closer to the charities, to see the works that they are doing and put a face to the organization that is making a donation.”