Grandma Shi's son and daughter-in-law walked out many years ago, leaving behind them two young kids- a one-year old daughter and a son of only two or three-month old to the sole care of Grandma Shi. She raised her two grandchildren by herself. However, the grandson had problems with sensory integration disorders and developmental delay and was often bullied in school; the granddaughter also suffered from frequent inexplicable fainting as the sequelae of hypoxia when she was young. Grandma Shi worked as a temporary worker in the Social Bureau for 18 years. She will retire at the age of 65 in September this year. She worried what will happen to her grandkids when she retires? Fortunately, a friend introduced part-time cleaning jobs to her and the grandkids were also very considerate. They tried hard to find part-time jobs at school. Grandma Shi later learned through a friend about the 50+ Sewing Class, co-operated by The Mustard Seed Mission and the Kaulin Foundation, and she signed up immediately. She wants to learn new skills and create a new life in her retirement.
When being asked of how she felt about the sewing class, Grandma Shi glowed. She said that through this class she made some new friends and learned new skills to boost her self-confidence. She now feels that life is full of hope. Besides, when she was concentrating on sewing, she forgets life's troubles and worries and her minds stops wandering. She is thankful that the teacher is very patient in teaching them and answers her many questions tirelessly.
Talking about how she wishes to use her newly acquired skills after graduation, she said that in the future, she hopes to continue to participate in the advanced class to improve her skill and she will work at home with her grandchildren in designing and sewing. In designing bags, mobile phone bags, coin purses and other cultural and creative objects, her artistic talented granddaughter can help drawing pictures and she sews cloth bags. The grandson can help sell them online. By doing so the family can generate a small income to improve family finances.
Grandma Shi said that when their economic situation improves, she wants to give back to the society given the opportunity. She would like to use the sewing skills learned through the course to help repairing clothes and sewing buttons in the community. "Take from the society, give back to the society; from palm up to palm down!" The grandchildren are particularly empathetic because they experienced the family hardship themselves. For example, they would always take the initiative to take the flyers when seeing them being handed out on the streets. They would also help to buy cookies sold by charities. She was deeply touched by their good deeds.
But before she is able to give back to the society, Grandma Shi said: "My biggest dream now is to have some extra fabrics and design papers so that I can practice. It would be great if someone can provide me with the fabrics for practice!" She added shyly: "There is no sewing machine for me to use when I come home. Would it be too much to ask if I want a sewing machine?"