Housewife with 25 befriendees enjoys going the extra mile
Mdm Siti Khatijah enjoys being around people and building genuine relationships. Having no qualms to go the extra mile for others, the 60-year-old housewife is always actively giving back to the people around her. As Mdm Khatijah wants to better care for her grandchildren, the grandmother of five attended “Childcare Training Skills for Grandparents” by Family Central, which is a course under the National Silver Academy (NSA).
Developing a Strong Family Bond
Besides being equipped with childcare skills during the course, she learnt about the role of grandparents and how they should play a complementary role in the family to educate children. The students were able to learn from one another when they shared about their experiences as grandparents and parents-in-law. Many of her classmates were surprised to learn about the strong relationships between Mdm Khatijah and her daughters-in-law.
“I respect my son and daughters-in-law’s opinions since they understand their children better,” she expressed.
Their strong family bond could only be achieved as a result of their conscious efforts to spend quality time with the family. For example, Mdm Khatijah makes it a point to spend time with her family and prepares a meal whenever they gather. She was also previously invited to community centres to share her experience with young couples.
More than a Volunteer
Rain or shine, Mdm Khatijah would always make time for her 25 befriendees under the Community Befriending Programme of NTUC Health. Even if it is just a simple catching up session at home, her befriendees are always looking forward to her visits each week. At times, they would prepare a meal together and learn from Mdm Khatijah on how to use their smartphones and various social media platforms!
“Social interaction is very important for seniors especially for those who live alone. I’m just glad to be able to provide a listening ear to them and contribute to the community,” Mdm Khatijah said.
With the recent developments of the COVID-19 situation, Mdm Khatijah said that the befriending home visits have been suspended and she has been following up with her befriendees via phone call instead, to check on their well-being and if they have taken their medication.
The dedicated lady also volunteers her time in a support group for single mothers known as Super Mums. Mdm Khatijah provides strong emotional support to the ladies in Super Mums and often shares her experience and knowledge with them, including what she had learnt from the courses attended. To provide them with the skills to earn an extra source of income, she had also made the effort to source for appropriate cooking equipment and taught them to prepare certain foods including Nasi Lemak and cookies.
With Mdm Khatijah always going the distance for others, she is no longer just a regular volunteer but a friend to people around her whom they can confide in. When asked about her views on volunteering, “I am very happy whenever I volunteer as it is very, very meaningful,” she says.
**Special thanks to Mdm Siti Khatijah Binti Mohamad Jai who accepted our interview, we wish her all the very best in her lifelong learning journey.
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