Catering to special needs

Their youngest child suffers from an intellectual disability and attends Katong School, a school for children with special needs.

Muhd Farihim, 12, also suffers from skin allergies and has to visit the clinic once a week.

His medical bill of about $200 a month is a strain on Madam Rosilah, 47, and her 64-year-old husband. They both work as cleaners to support the family.

They have three other children aged between 17 and 27.

They moved into their three-room flat under the interim rental housing scheme three years ago after selling their four-room HDB flat in Yishun as they could no longer afford paying the $1,200 monthly utility bills and mortgage payments.

Despite having health problems of their own, both parents have to work to support the family, earning a combined income of $1,500 a month.

Their eldest daughter, 27, who studies at a tertiary institution, also works part-time at a learning centre to help out the family.

Said Madam Rosilah: "It's a difficult life, especially with a child who needs special attention.

"Before (he enrolled with the) Homework Cafe, he would hang out with his friends downstairs and cause trouble and learn vulgarities."

She said she could not supervise him all the time as she and her husband had to work. They could not afford a maid either.

So when social workers offered her son a place in student care programmes under Project 4650, they were relieved.

Said Madam Rosilah: "I feel much safer going to work with him being looked after."

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