The Helping Hand’s orchid sale honours mothers and their role in recovery of addicts
by Christine Leow // April 15, 2021, 10:40 am
Ranjit Kaur spent many years supporting her husband in his struggle with drug addiction. His journey brought both of them to The Helping Hand, where they heard the Gospel. Now, she is over-seeing the Mother's Day orchid sale, proceeds of which go towards funding efforts to help former drug addicts start afresh. All photos courtesy of The Helping Hand.
Say it with flowers.
Whether you are male or female, young or not so young, The Helping Hand has come up with a way for everyone to express appreciation for the mothers in their lives.
This is the first time the half-way house, that rehabilitates men who are former drug addicts, is selling orchids in celebration of Mother’s Day.
“We want to take the opportunity to honour mothers and honour the role of mothers in the recovery of addicts,” said Ranjit Kaur, the woman managing the orchid sales.
“A number of the residents at THH are estranged from their family. It is not easy to support someone in their recovery process.”
Kaur, 55, knows first-hand just how difficult it is to support addicts in their fight against drugs. Her husband was an addict from the age of 14 when his school mates introduced him to drugs.
“He thought I was crazy, but I always supported him.”
“When someone is on drugs, they come across as very selfish. It’s very difficult (for the families) to understand why they can’t give it up.
“Supporting them takes a lot of time and energy because an addict will keep playing you out. They will suck out all the energy (from you). Families can get tired of them.”
That is why her husband, Ranjit Singh, 59, is forever grateful that Kaur stayed by his side.
“He always tells his friends, ‘Thank God my wife didn’t leave me’. He thought I was crazy but I always supported him.”
Today, he is a counsellor at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) where he counsels those trying to beat addiction.
What price love
Supporting her husband came at no small cost for Kaur.
She worked two jobs because Singh could not hold down even one with his addiction.
She married Singh when she was 20 even though she knew full well he was a drug addict. He had been imprisoned for three months for drug consumption while they were dating.
“I came from a very simple family – only my sister and I. My father used to drink alcohol and he gave it up within a day the moment he developed high blood pressure.
“I thought: If my dad can change, somebody else can change, too.”
Her parents did not approve of the marriage and, for a while, they were estranged.
Life with a drug addict had many other challenges. Even as the children came along – one within the first of year marriage and another a few years later – her husband continued taking drugs.
Kaur became father, mother and provider for the family. She worked two jobs because Singh could not hold down even one with his addiction.
The children, especially their older son, suffered as well because of their father’s addiction.
“My older one grew up an angry child because he was beaten up by my husband when I was not around because I had to hold two jobs.”
What blessings to come
There were times when Kaur wanted to give up. She even issued her husband an ultimatum to challenge him – “Give up drugs or I will leave you”. What stopped her from making good her threat was the glimmer of hope she saw when he entered the rehabilitation programme by THH.
Because she encouraged him through his de-toxification programme and supported him thereafter, Kaur got a chance to hear the Gospel.
“Our sons are proud of their father. He shared with them his testimony, his life, why he became addicted.”
Her husband had become a Christian through THH’s programme and took his family to church every week. Kaur became a Christian three years later, won over by the God who had the power to change her husband and by the love the church showed them.
Her sons – now aged 32, 29 and 16 – got to grow up in church. It was in church where her oldest son met his future wife when he was just three years old. They started dating three years ago and are getting married in two months.
God also brought healing to the family.
“Our sons are proud of their father. He shared with them his testimony, his life, why he became addicted. Even their friends know.”
Because husband and wife have repeatedly talked about the dangers of addiction, all three of their children have stayed away from drugs. When their friends stray, they get their father to talk to them.
All three of their children have stayed away from drugs. When their friends stray, they get their father to talk to them.
Her support for her husband has led Kaur to a career with THH as well.
When Singh was a resident at THH, working to kick his drug habit, Kaur would visit every week. Then, he became a helper and Kaur became a fixture at the half-way house.
“I would bring my kids over to let them play in the area because the compound is so big,” said Kaur.
After a few years, she was asked to join the THH team as a receptionist. She is now a business manager there and in charge of the Mother’s Day orchid project.
In full bloom
THH came up with the idea of selling orchids for Mother’s Day because of their experience with urban farming.
Started during the Circuit Breaker last year, the half-way house turned a plot of land at the back of their premise into a garden for some 20 raised vegetable beds. They now have a variety of vegetables and herbs that, when harvested, is cooked at their in-house canteen for the residents.
Beyond sustenance, gardening is therapeutic for the residents and provides them with the opportunity to hone new skills. Three residents who are in charge of the garden are now pursuing polytechnic courses on urban farming.
Gardening is therapeutic for the residents and provides them with the opportunity to hone new skills.
The success of the vegetable and herb garden inspired THH to venture further. This time, a patch of greenery in the front of the compound was converted into an orchid garden complete with a trellis.
“We had a volunteer who knew how to grow orchids and offered a knowledge transfer to help our residents pick up the skill,” explained Kaur.
“We also thought that the orchid garden would be a nice place to do Quiet Time.”
The garden is only a month old. So, for this Mother’s Day, THH is bringing in orchids from a nursery they are partnering to offer mums two types of orchid gifts.
There is a table arrangement (S$80) that is meant for indoors that comes with either purple or yellow orchids. Being long-lasting blooms, the orchids can remain fresh for weeks.
The other is a pot of orchids (S$50) for mums with green thumbs. Customers have a choice of red, purple or yellow orchids. The flowers can be ordered online and collected at THH or delivered at a cost of S$8.
As with all THH’s services, proceeds from the sale will go to fund their efforts to help former drug addicts stay clean and start afresh.
ORCHIDS FOR MOTHER’S DAY FROM THE HELPING HANDS
When: April 16 – May 8, 2021
What: Indoor arrangement – S$80
Outdoor potted orchid – S$50
Delivery fee: S$8
Self-collection: Monday – Saturday
9am – 7pm
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