By Kay del Rosario
Joanna Yap has two beautiful daughters who mean the world to her. The 52-year-old single mum would do anything for them, even giving up a good career as an engineer.
That was the decision she made when her younger daughter Amelia was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay, a condition where children are significantly delayed in their cognitive and physical development.
“There was a big drop in my pay. But for me, the important thing is education and how I can teach her [Amelia].
“When she was young, early intervention was very important. If I miss it, that’s it. She’s not going to learn anymore,” Joanna said.
With much of her time dedicated to her girls, Joanna could only take on part-time work as a kindergarten teacher. She had this job for seven years until she was let go in December 2020 due to restructuring.
She now works as a care assistant at a nursing home.
“I had zero knowledge on how to take care of a senior – transferring them from wheelchair to chair, how to feed them, how to talk to them – it was a struggle at first.
“But I told myself, just go ahead and learn a day at a time to gain experience,” Joanna said.
This determination to overcome challenges gets her going. But sometimes, there are burdens too heavy to bear alone.
She admits, “At my lowest point, I will cry first. After that, I tell myself to forget all the troubles and look forward to something that is positive, something that is happy. Then I move on.”
As a union member, Joanna and her family have been receiving help for daily necessities and school needs through various NTUC-U Care Fund assistance programmes and education bursaries since 2013.
For her, the small amount she gets makes a big difference.
“As a single parent, finance is a big problem. It has helped me to be less stressed in this area. The stress has been taken out,” Joanna said.