Sunday won't be so special for some mums

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 May, 2013, 4:46am

While many mothers across the world will be honoured this Sunday, others won't be so lucky.

Ah Fung, 42 and a single mother of an eight-year-old daughter, is one of the less fortunate ones. Celebration will not be on her to-do list for that day - she will be working an extra shift on a construction site. "I don't mind working hard to feed myself and raise my daughter," said Ah Fung, who arrived from the mainland about a year ago.

"But at the least, society has to allow and help us to contribute."

She talks about her search for work, no matter how lowly the jobs could be, but employers were often reluctant to hire mothers such as herself, fearing they would not be able to devote themselves fully to the job.

"The first question employers ask is, 'Do you have children?' After I say yes, they ask me to wait for their call about giving me the job, which they never do."

As a single parent, Ah Fung must also deal with the demands of running a household and bringing in an income. She wakes up at 6am on days she is working in order to prepare lunch for her daughter. She travels to the construction site to work a full shift, then at 6pm picks up her child from school. After buying food at the market, she heads home to cook dinner.

Ah Fung has no relatives in the city and lives in a subdivided flat with her daughter in To Kwa Wan. She said the area lacked a childcare centre that could help look after her daughter.

"If I knew my daughter was under close watch by professionals, I could focus on my work without worrying about her."

Her Mother's Day wish is not about obtaining wealth but merely that the government provide more daytime childcare services.

Yeung Mei, executive director at New Women Arrivals League, a non-governmental organisation helping newly arrived mainland women, said the government should adjust its childcare policy for single parents in order to provide more flexibility new arrivals to the city.