Seven years ago, when Madam Lim Gay Hua's family had problems paying their household bills, the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) stepped in to provide financial aid.
Today, Madam Lim, 65, is able to cope financially by renting a room in her HDB flat to a couple from Myanmar and through the income from her newspaper stand.
She lives with grandson Chen Cher Yong, nine, in an HDB flat at Lorong 8 Toa Payoh. They have been together since his mother left for Malaysia in 2007.
Cher Yong's mother has recently started visiting on weekends, sometimes taking him to Malaysia with her.
"There are times the weekends would extend into weekdays, something we are trying to discourage as it affects his education," Ms Christine Goh, a social worker from the Care Corner Family Service Centre (Toa Payoh), says.
Cher Yong has been placed in after-school care, where he is supervised and coached every day in school work.
"He takes a bus to his grandmother's stall in the evening, arriving at about 6pm to help her," Ms Goh says.
The centre is helping Cher Yong apply for higher subsidies for his after-school care arrangements.
"We also got him on The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund as well as the Education Ministry's financial assistance scheme," Ms Goh says.
Under the ministry's financial assistance scheme, Cher Yong gets a full waiver of miscellaneous fees.
This article was published on April 6 in The New Paper.
Get The New Paper for more stories.