How did this idea to bless unwed mothers come about?
Laura: In December 2019, I attended a youth camp at Barker Road Methodist Church. One of my pastors shared his experience where a group of them decided to bless sex workers in Geylang and give them roses on Valentine’s Day. This made me reflect on females who are stigmatised in society such as sex workers, unwed mothers etc. I confess that initially I had the stereotype that unwed mothers were “impure” or that they had sinned against God and that I shouldn’t associate myself with them. However, upon reflection I realised that we are all the same — sinful in nature. They may have done something unacceptable, but we should still love everyone as we are all God’s precious children. A few months later, I remembered the testimony shared by my pastor and had a spontaneous thought to do something to bless and support unwed mothers on Mother’s Day, and I got my classmates on board.
What is Mother’s Day with A Twist?
Laura: Mother’s Day with A Twist was an initiative to bless and support single mothers on Mother’s Day. With this intention in mind, my Sec One classmates and I did some research and found out that Catholic Family Life (CFL), a registered organisation, befriends and helps unwed single mothers, providing them with baby essentials, and other support they might need. We thought we could start up a fundraising campaign for them.
I had a spontaneous thought to do something to bless and support unwed mothers on Mother’s Day.
That is when we organised Mother’s Day With A Twist back in 2020, an online fundraiser using the giving.sg platform. To promote our fundraiser, we did a video performance. Eve sang and I played the guitar to express our well wishes to mothers. Our classmates contributed drawings and cards. The fundraiser was a success — we managed to raise $5000!
The fundraiser was a success – we managed to raise $5000!
We brought Mother’s Day With A Twist back in 2021. This time, we sold products to our schoolmates and continued to donate the funds raised to CFL. We sold scrapbooks, jewellery, star jars, candles and other accessories, which doubled as Mother’s Day gifts. In the week leading up to Mother’s Day, we also folded origami flower bouquets to present to the beneficiaries of CFL.
How did your classmates get on board with the project?
Laura: Something that was very heartening to see in the first year was that when I asked our class for volunteers, a lot of them were very enthusiastic about it, very passionate, and willing to serve. And I think it was precisely because of everyone’s support and initiative that we managed to raise that amount. When everybody put in the effort, we were able to make a significant positive impact on others.
Eve: For Mother’s Day With a Twist II, quite a few of our classmates volunteered as well. It was during our home-based learning week when we didn’t have to go to school, so many of our classmates turned up at this particular Carl’s Jr at a nearby mall to fold origami paper flowers together for Mother’s Day. That was really cute.
What was most memorable to you?
Laura: In 2021 when I presented the origami bouquets to CFL, the person-in-charge thanked us very sincerely and it really touched my heart. When we were doing it online in 2020, we didn’t get to interact with the beneficiaries or even the foundation very much. So when I got to see the impact we made, it was really great.
Eve: For me it was when the beneficiaries gave us goodie bags at the end of the year to thank us for fundraising, even though the event had happened a few months back. That was really heart-warming. That made the project a lot more meaningful because at the end of the year, they still remembered us. It reminded me that our actions made a difference.
How has your faith played a part in your journey of Mother’s Day with a Twist?
Eve: Around 2020, my Christian journey wasn’t the best and I had strayed from God. When circuit breaker hit and there was no physical church, no school devotions, and I felt even further from God. It was then that Laura initiated this project and I saw it as a great opportunity to serve again and glorify God using my talents.
Laura: Mother’s Day With A Twist helped me to understand that whatever God has blessed us with, such as musical talents, we should use that to help other people. Something I had a revelation about was also the fact that no one is perfect, and yet we judge those that we think are not perfect, such as single mothers! Instead of judging them, we should use whatever we have to help and support them.
How has this experience shaped your opinions on unwed mothers, and what can we do better to support them?
Laura: Unwed mothers actually experience a lot of stigma for being unmarried with child in a society that encourages having kids in the context of marriage.
Eve: I agree, and other than donating or supporting them financially, it’s also a mindset change that a lot people need to have — to reduce the stigma that Laura mentioned against unwed mothers and to be more accepting of others.
Any word of advice for young women who want to help other women in need?
Eve: Just go for it. If you’re in school, your teachers can offer some guidance, so if you’re passionate about something, the best time to do it is now! You can also volunteer at various charities or donate. No matter what situation you’re in, you can always help and no matter what gifts you have, you always have something to contribute, so why not use it now?
Laura: There isn’t a specific time or circumstance that you should start your project. If you have an idea, just do whatever you can to bless people. If you keep making excuses and procrastinating, you will never start. When challenges come up, just remind yourself to stick to your goal of what you want to accomplish and keep going.