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In the News

Shining Bright in Dark Times

Features 02 Sep 2020

(What’s in a Light in the Night kit: art and craft materials, a guidebook, scents, and a soft toy. Photo credit: Light in the Night)

Florence Fong’s passion for grief work could be attributed to her background as a medical social worker where death, unfortunately, is a common occurrence.

Just a year ago, Florence had to cope with the death of five loved ones. It was an extremely dark and difficult period, even for the most strong-hearted among us. Hence, Florence knows what it’s like to feel isolated from the world. She sought a therapist to help her process her traumatic grief, but even that had its limitations.

“Talking about the feelings of loss and my loved ones helped to ease the pain. But there came a point where even talking became tiresome, and sometimes, there were simply no words to describe what I felt inside.” —Florence Fong, Founder, Light in the Night

Naturally drawn to art, Florence turned to journaling, drawing, doodling, and painting to cope with her inner turmoil. When she found herself unable to meet face-to-face with her therapist during the circuit breaker period, it dawned on her that there were probably many others who couldn’t seek therapy from their counsellors and social workers, too. What could help them in the meantime?

Inspired by the COVID-19 care packs that were distributed to the community, Florence started to explore the idea of a grief care pack. The grief care pack that would not only care for the physical health of an individual but also their emotional well-being.

“I hope that individuals and the larger society can find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in experiencing grief and that they can actually talk about it. We need to have more conversations about grief and I hope this initiative can start one.” —Florence Fong

The beneficiaries of Light in the Night are grieving adults who could benefit from an alternative outlet to express their emotions in positive ways. The kits include art and craft materials for creative work, a guide to various methods of self-care as well as scented candles. Rather than being a direct replacement for therapy or the emotional support of loved ones, these grief care kits are meant to supplement these forms of support.

Entirely self-funded, the initiative started off with a humble target to create 100 grief care packs. The additional funding from Temasek Trust’s oscar@sg fund catapulted that number to 400. Now, there is a high possibility of scaling up even further as the Singapore Hospice Council has indicated their interest to collaborate with Light in the Night and distribute the grief care packs for beneficiaries nationwide.

“A large part of this expansion really began when I was linked to the Singapore Hospice Council upon my application to the oscar@sg fund. It was this referral that allowed the initiative to take off on a larger scale than I imagined.” —Florence Fong

To date, the team has delivered 100 grief care packs to social service organizations and will continue to deliver the packs upon request from other members of the Singapore Hospice Council and beyond.