Monday, 15 December 2008 9:29 AM

The Plight of a Single-Mother

I read with empathy the story about Lily Mae, and admire her courage and determination as a single mother, in raising three children on her own with the very minimal wage she earns. I wonder how many more young women like Lily are out there in our communities struggling to make ends meet without a husband to support them.

As Nuake has pointed out, the missing bit in Lily's story is the where about of the father of her three children. This missing bit of the puzzle in Lily's life would have made it easier for readers to relate and make meaning of her story, and situation. However, as far as I am aware, single mothers in our society may be left alone to raise their children due to a number of reasons including; teenage pregnancy, family break-up, death, and mere negligence on the part of the male partner.

Our society has always boasted about the support single-mothers would normally receive from the extended family system. But it seemed to me that such support is slowly diminishing, due to the financial implications attached to rearing a child nowadays in our society. Sadly, many young single-mothers in our society today receive very minimal support from their relatives, and some of them are left alone, like Lily, to rear their own children after their husbands have died, or have left them for another woman.

We may argue that single-mothers should seek help from the Social Welfare Department to obtain child maintenance support for their children. But the sad reality is that many single-mothers in our society could not take advantage of such social welfare benefits because the father of their child/children is unemployed or have already died. According to the law of our country, a father can only be made to pay child maintenance if he is still alive and has a regular source of income. Hence, single-mothers in such situations have no choice, but to shoulder the burden of raising their own children.

In regards to Lily's case she could pursue the matter with the Social Welfare Department, if the father of her three children is still alive and is employed. If so, someone need to advice Lily about how she could get Child Maintenance support for her three children, if she has not done so yet.

I think the Social Welfare Department in our country need to be strengthened so that they can do more than just offering counselling services, and helping single mothers to obtain child maintenance support from the father of their children. The responsible authority need to consider other sources and forms of social welfare benefits that can be accorded to single-mothers who genuinely need them.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Patricia Rodie and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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