Children painting in a collaborative art session at the Fair for All Families organised by the Association of Women for Action and Research at Hong Lim Park on March 12, 2016. The family day was a carnival held in support of single parents and their children. CAMPUS EYE/Gwyn Heidi Ng (Singapore)
By Gwyn Heidi Ng
SINGAPORE, Mar 13 (Campus Eye) – Fair for All Families was the first family carnival in Singapore held in support of single parents and their children on Mar. 12 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Hong Lim Park.
It was organised by the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), a gender equality advocacy group in Singapore as part of a new campaign, #asinglelove, launched on Mar. 10 to support and empower single parents – including those unmarried, divorced or widowed – and their families.
According to Singapore Statistics Newsletter 2014, single-parent families made up 7 to 9 per cent of Singapore’s household living arrangements in 2010.
Kelly Kwa, 39, a single mother of two boys aged six and 10, was at the fair with her younger son.
Kwa said: “We seldom see such themes for family days.
“For an event to be specially catered to single-parent families and reaching out to them to acknowledge their presence is quite rare.”
The fair attracted about 200 people with activities such as collaborative family art, community yoga, personal stories by single parents and a speech by guest-of-honour, Member of Parliament Tin Pei Ling.
In Tin’s speech addressing the support that single parents and their families require, she hinted at the upcoming Singapore Budget providing support for single-parent families.
The Programmes and Communications Senior Manager of AWARE, Jolene Tan, 33, said, “At this event you can’t tell who the single parents are from non-single parents, and that’s the whole point.
“They all care about their families, in things like love and support, they are the same.”
Ong Shu Hui, 22, a volunteer at the event, said it was touching how young children were drawing pictures of their families on the board and penning what love meant to them.
Single-parent families received free goodie bags and were eligible for carnival stall discounts and free services such as legal consultations by Eden Law Corporation and medical advice from Wellness for Life Chiropractic.
The #asinglelove campaign, a collaboration between AWARE, Kinetic and Daughters of Tomorrow, was launched with a video release getting viewers to re-think their attitudes towards single parents and their families.
Tan said the campaign seeks to provide support – through direct programmes such as work skill courses to increase employability and services such as legal advice; lobbying for change of discriminatory policies; and change in societal attitudes.
The campaign will be boosted by advertorial posters on the North East line of the Mass Rapid Transit to promote inclusive attitudes towards single parents and their families.
Asked what Singaporeans can do to show their support, Tin, 32, said, “We need to have an open mind; in the end, these are fellow Singaporeans who may have gone through a tough patch in life.”
Tin also advised Singaporeans to make sure single parents and their families are included in events and programmes.
“Just treating them like normal, yet being cognizant and sensitive to their situation is something we can all do,” said Tin.