17 women sign up for group launched by ACMI
ACMI, the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, has formed a support group for foreign spouses of Singaporean men.
The Foreign Spouse Support Group (FSSG) was launched on June 15 at a ceremony marking the graduation of these spouses who took English and Mandarin class organised by ACMI.
All 17 women have signed up for the group.
“The support group was formed out of the need to empower these spouses to form their own communities so that they can support each other and learn how to integrate into Singapore society,” said ACMI executive director Jeremy Khoo.
According to him, ACMI is “one of the more pro-active organisations to respond to the needs of the foreign spouses”.
“We currently get referrals from embassies, NGOs, hospitals and family service centres for assistance,” he said.
ACMI has been running English and Mandarin classes for foreign spouses since September 2008, assisted by local volunteers and a Vietnamese volunteer.
Commented Ms Theresa Lim from Vietnam, a graduate from the latest batch who has been in Singapore for the past two years: “The teachers here are good ... I like the class and I made some friends here also.”
Her husband, Mr Jude Chan, from the parish of Christ the King, said, “What ACMI is doing really helps foreign spouses as the fees are lower than the other institutions. The support group is a good idea because the bonding sessions can help people like my wife make new friends.”
Ms Sunisa Samakkee from Thailand said, “I improved my English a lot. The teacher was friendly and experienced. The environment for learning was very quiet”.
ACMI’s language classes are held once a week over 12 weeks. At the end of the course, trainees are given a certificate of attendance.
The next course is planned for September this year.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, there are 58,600 foreign spouses who are permanent residents and an additional 11,700 on long-term visit passes in Singapore.
ACMI says it hopes more Catholics would volunteer their time to help these spouses.
For more information on ACMI, visit http://www.acmi.sg/
By Don Gurugay