A Second Chance

When Marie had a stroke in 2018, she had to stop working. She was a cook in a kindergarten for seven years before, and now she felt dejected and worried about how she would cope financially.

Help came in the form of a ‘good Samaritan’ nurse who informed Marie about Abilities Beyond Limitations and Expectations’ (ABLE’s) services while she was recovering in Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Marie soon joined ABLE’s Return-to-Work programme and started rebuilding her life through physiotherapy. She also attended employment support sessions under the guidance of ABLE’s multi-disciplinary Rehabilitation team.

Just love that smile!

Marie regained her confidence and participated in an in-house work trial between September to October 2018, conducting a telephone survey as part of a collaboration project with North West Community Development Council.

“I felt more positive and encouraged after attending the programmes,” Marie shared. “From this job trial experience, I have learnt to be more patient and not to give up even when faced with challenges.”

Marie also attended a Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) training in Effective Workplace Communications to improve her employability. After completing the training, Marie was even more determined to secure employment.

This presented itself as a job interview opportunity with BreadTalk. Marie was both excited and apprehensive as it was her first-ever formal job interview. This soon turned to delight when she was offered the position of Pastry Artist at BreadTalk’s outlet at Nex. Her job involves decorating pastries such as doughnuts, croissants, bread, and pizza.

Starting work at BreadTalk was nerve-racking for Marie. She was unsure if she could cope within the compact workspace and during busy periods. Her initial concerns were addressed during ABLE’s job support visits. Gradually, Marie adapted well in her role and improved her working speed with the support of both the ABLE Rehabilitation team and her fellow BreadTalk colleagues.

Ultimately, Marie’s positive attitude and willingness to learn enabled her to regain a productive and independent life.

The Warrior

A strong fighting spirit helped Stephanie rise above her adversities instead of admitting defeat.

A single lady in her early 60’s, Stephanie was an accounts assistant who enjoyed her independence. When she woke one Sunday to go to church, Stephanie was unable to move her limbs or stand.

She was taken to a hospital and was eventually diagnosed to have suffered a stroke and hospitalised for a month. As a result, she was unable to bathe herself after her discharge due to weakness in her left arm and stiffness in her fingers, and could not return to work.

Stephanie’s fierce spirit of independence enabled her to be optimistic as she was determined to re-join the work force. The staff at St Andrew’s Community Hospital told Stephanie about ABLE’s Return-to-Work (RTW) programme.

Not letting this setback deter her, she sought help from ABLE and through their weekly therapy sessions, she worked to regain the strength she needed to be employable. ABLE supported Stephanie in her recovery in various ways – providing assistance to get a motorised wheelchair, rehabilitation therapy and facilitating opportunities for her to attend job fairs and interviews. A year and a half after her stroke, Stephanie was ready to return to work.

With ABLE’s referral, she found a job as an accounting assistant with ABLE SEAS, a social enterprise funded by ABLE, which provides accounting services for charities. Stephanie is grateful that she is again contributing to society.

She shared some significant moments from this journey, “I believe that God was with me through this whole experience. He reminded me how precious life is, and that he wanted me to be strong and courageous in carrying my Cross. Every day is still a challenge, but now I have the resolve to face each and every day with courage. My niece calls me a warrior.”

Stephanie hopes that the public will be more sympathetic and patient towards wheelchair users within the community.

Stephanie is grateful for the support from her family and ABLE. As for her future, she intends to continue in her quest for self-improvement and job skills upgrading. She is currently continuing with her rehabilitation and attending the LCCI certification training.

ABLE seeks to enable and empower persons with physical disabilities to live productive, meaningful and independent lives.