Caring on wheels

We walked into Mr Rahmat Bin Ahmad’s home with some apprehension as we were unsure  Mr Rahmat would understand us given he does not speak English. Our concerns were unfounded when Mr Rahmat Bin Ahmad entered the neat living room in his wheelchair with a radiant smile. Suddenly, the entire room was lightened by his smile. Holding his wife’s hand, Mr Rahmat Bin Ahmad welcomed us with hospitality and we commenced the interview.

Mr Rahmat Bin Ahmad, who just celebrated his 75th birthday, lives with his wife. He has a 41-year old son who works in Kuala Lumpur and a 46 year-old daughter who works at the Singapore General Hospital. As the breadwinner of the family, his daughter often visits.

Twenty years ago, Mr Rahmat Bin Ahmad was diagnosed with diabetes. His left leg was amputated because of an infection. He explained, “At first, the doctors planned to cut some toes. Later, they decided to amputate the entire foot to prevent further infection.”

As years have gone by, he recounted the painful past placidly. Still, it is not hard for us to imagine the pain he had been through. After the amputation, getting to and from the medical appointments became a constant challenge for him because of his limited mobility.

“For a person like me, going out is never easy. I had previously hired London cabs from a private company. However, the irregularity of my appointment time and the exorbitant fees posed a challenge. They charged $70 for a round-trip. We could not afford it,” he lamented.

Indeed, for those struggling financially and physically like Mr Rahmat Bin Ahmad, their problems are exacerbated as commercially available private transport services are not economically feasible for the long-term.

The Community Development Council learnt about his difficulties and referred him to the Singapore Red Cross for TransportAid. His problem has since been resolved.

“The service of Red Cross TransportAid is good - they are punctual. All the responders are very friendly and helpful. Plus, they charge only $25 for a round-trip. I am very satisfied with it,” shared Mr Rahmat

“I have been using the TransportAid for one and a half years. Now, I do not need to worry about the expenses and meeting my appointment time anymore,” he said with gratitude.

“Six months ago, I bought a walking frame. I can now walk around our neighbourhood to buy groceries on my own. It has become my new hobby,” said Mr Rahmat proudly, while pointing at his walking frame.

During our photoshoot at the end of this interview, Mr Rahmat and his wife hugged each other tacitly whilst looking at the camera with their most sincere smile.