Single mother and long-term dole recipient K.K. Lee used to feel her prospects of getting a job were 'hopeless'. Every day for eight years she woke in late afternoon feeling isolated and with 'no direction in life'. Now she heads daily to a housing estate to work. In July, with help from the New Dawn Project, she found a job as a security guard working eight hours a day and earning $5,800 a month. Sitting in a room at the Sha Tin Women's Association, which has helped her over the past few months, the 33-year-old mother of boys aged 14 and 15, is smiling and chatty, excited about her new life. It is a far cry from the day she received a letter from the Social Welfare Department asking her to join the Project and find work, or face a monthly $200 penalty. 'I was resistant and scared when I heard that I had to go and find a job. But I gave it a try,' she recalls. Ms Lee joined the Project programmes run by the women's association and attended its classes in English communication and job interview skills. She was referred by the association to the security guard training course at the Employees Retraining Board. The association provides job-matching services, but prefers participants find jobs themselves. 'We don't want them to feel that they have to be cared for. It is a problem-solving process,' social worker Leung Kam-tim said, adding that participants gathered twice a week to share their experiences about looking for work. Ms Lee found the job by herself. 'When the employer asked me if I had work experience, I said no. I thought I stood no chance and it was unbelievable that they hired me.' That night, her sons cooked her a celebratory meal. She says the family has been happier since she found a job and she has more to talk about with her sons. 'I hope that I don't need to rely on welfare in the future.'