Xiaoliu (not her real name) came from a small town. In 2019, she decided to leave the town to work in the city. She had worked in several different factories until August 2019, she quit her full-time job to take on other part time job that earns lesser income. Hence, she often borrows money from relatives and friends to meet her monthly expenses. They were happy to help initially but for a short period of time only.
With Covid-19 pandemic causing worldwide concern, our government has implemented MCO in mid-March to curb further spread. When she realise there’s little savings and food, coupled with her relatives and friends are ignoring her plea, she began to be very anxious. She started to seek assistance from outside her own circle of friends, applied for Government assistance / subsidy and also called the 7979 hotline several times.
As a result, the 7979 service staff referred her case to a local church. The church adheres to 7979 service principles to help the distress and vulnerable families, struck by the economic woos, regardless of race and religion and decided to intervene in this new case.
The church volunteer began to understand her previous work and spending habits and noticed the mismatch in her income and expenditure. Xiaoliu didn’t conceal but was cooperative to share with the volunteer. After listening to Xiaoliu's sharing, church volunteer was a little surprised by her spending habits, but instead of criticizing, she continued to listen.
As they chat, Xiaoliu began to share her family story. It turned out that her father once ran a small enterprise and was the only bread winner in the family. At that time, his business income was sufficient for her family of six and the economy was fairly stable then.
Xiaoliu’s family began to face financial difficulties when her father passed away few years ago. According to Xiaoliu, they have never been able to adapt to her father ’s departure.
Church volunteer further observed the departure of Xiaoliu’s father, had caused great turbulence to both her family and her personal life. If it were not due to MCO, and in response to her friend’s suggestions, Xiaoliu would n’t think of the need to cook and prepare her own meals, change her lifestyle and spending habits to cope with current difficulty situation.
Church volunteer taught her how to manage and make good use of the subsidy received, identify which foods can be kept for longer time, and how to avoid wasteful spending. As she now has no income, these are crash courses that she needs to learn and master. According to the volunteer, Xiaoliu occasionally send pictures of vegetables and food to ask, which one to buy or seek guidance on how to cook simple meals.
Her willingness to learn was comforting to the volunteer. This pandemic seemed to give Xiaoliu a chance to re-live her life. The church volunteer is the witness of Xiaoliu’s transformed life.
Although the church is not yet a 7979 Holistic care station, they are appreciative of the 7979 COVID-19 special assistance program extended to all churches to apply for those in need. The church Volunteer helped Xiaoliu to apply for the 7979 crisis intervention plan whereby, monthly allowance will be given up to a period of 4 months.
The church volunteer really appreciates this form of assistance as she can continue to care for Xiaoliu and accompany her through this difficult journey.
Case story from Port Klang Chinese Methodist Church