"Thank you for starting Safe Place, Jennifer," said Cindy* (not her real name), turning her gaze to her 2-month old baby. "The support has been amazing. If it wasn't for Safe Place, my boyfriend and I would have aborted our son."
We were sitting together at lunch after the breastfeeding workshop at the Hegen Experiential Centre, one of the many resources we provide to help unsupported women as they go through their parenthood journey. No matter how many times I've heard those words through the years, it never gets old. The work of Safe Place is transformational not just for women, but for men and children too.
Safe Place exists to empower unsupported pregnant women and their families to make life-giving choices. While pregnancy is a joyous event for some women, others may feel desperately afraid and lonely due to difficult circumstances. Timely and tangible help can make a huge difference.
How does Safe Place journey with a pregnant woman?
Every beneficiary has a dedicated social worker who provides casework and counselling, and coordinates all the resources needed. These include baby essentials, perinatal education, doulas, referrals for financial assistance, home visits from volunteers, accompaniment to medical appointments, family mediation and many more.
Many people think that Safe Place is simply a shelter for pregnant women. That is far from being true. The help provided for our beneficiaries is holistic, and residential services is just a part of it. Only about 20% of our beneficiaries are residents at Safe Place. Every woman, resident and non-resident, receives the same level of care and support from our staff and volunteers, for as long as needed.
Challenges faced by beneficiaries are often complex and deep-seated, so they need to be surrounded by a loving and committed community of staff, volunteers and donors. Being fully self-funded, partners that support Safe Place's mission is play a critical role in the support network.
In 2023, Safe Place will continue to empower more women and families to make life-giving choices. In particular, we will be developing programmes to reach out to vulnerable pregnant mothers, such as those who are incarcerated, or have special needs.
With more partners working together with Safe Place, unsupported pregnant women like Cindy* can continue to be assured that they are not alone in their journeys.
You can help create safe places everywhere for mothers and children in Singapore when you support Safe Place. Find out how you can lend your support to Safe Place at www.safeplace.org.sg
This post was written in collaboration with Ms Jennifer Heng, Director of Safe Place.