What attracted me to AWWA was the work that they do. I was working at the Cerebral Palsy Centre, and I saw how AWWA’s Teach Me programme changed many lives.
My most rewarding case was a girl with spina bifida. When I starting working with her, she was totally isolated. She wasn’t responding much, and all throughout primary school she was in and out of hospital. But slowly, she opened up, and eventually she went back to school. With family support and therapy – physical, occupational, education support – she went to secondary school and ITE. Now she has graduated and is working as an administrative worker, supporting herself. She’s a totally different person – so open and chatty.
She used to be very temperamental, even nasty. Now she’s so outgoing. The greatest satisfaction comes when we see our clients going into the workforce. The biggest challenge for workers in the social sector is avoiding burnout.
I’ve seen more than 1,000 cases since I started working with AWWA. There are some cases where improvement is slow. Some conditions deteriorate. Some clients lack family support – some families are not willing to let our clients try out therapy, or they refuse when we recommend letting clients go out to work.
What is my motivation? The children themselves.
I learn from them as well. Their perseverance touches me, when I see how hard they work towards their goals. For me, you need the belief that you can do something for these children. You need to have the ability to see the good in every child.
All of us believe in these children.
Lee Siew Hui is a social worker with AWWA Community Integrated Service (CIS) for more than 15 years.