MESSAGE SINGLE MOTHERS COCKTAIL Government Commissioner, Alida Francis

I would like to thank the Social Support Unit for this initiative and for focussing on single mothers.

My mother was a single mother who toiled endlessly to raise six of us on her own. It was not easy for her - or for any of us. Like many of you here this evening, my mother was our doctor, our nurse, our teacher, pastor, our provider, our defender, our protector. She was gentle when she had to and tough when it was necessary and there were times when her frustration would show. But she had a backbone of steel and a heart made gold. Those of you here tonight will identify with that.

Being raised by a single mother, I genuinely appreciate and value independent women. Coping with the pressures of work, financial struggles, helping with homework, having to respond whenever the school calls, doing housework, cooking and teaching your children discipline can be exhausting. For some of you just making ends meet is exhausting. Physically and emotionally, it is a struggle.

What we miss sometimes is how profoundly the children of single mothers are impacted by the challenges their mothers face. These effects range from financial to emotional and psychological. Some of it is long-term, including a cycle of single motherhood

Therefore, it is important to seek opportunities that will benefit both you and your children. Take advantage of opportunities to upgrade yourself and improve your financial situation.

This is what makes the events organised by the Social Support Unit this month and next month so important. Whether I is the make-up workshop on Friday or the health programme on Sunday, I encourage you to participate.

The Unit also provides resilience training, various forms of support and advice which can be beneficial to you as a single mother.

So, whatever challenge you face as a single mother, visit the Social Support Unit, and have a conversation with one of the officers. They will advise you accordingly. Be assured that you are not alone.

I salute you.