“What does a construction company and a charity like us have in common?” This was a question some of us pondered during a volunteer training session we were conducting last Friday. We concluded that we were both builders. “Building with Integrity” is the motto of Woh Hup Pte Ltd and when applied to our context, it means that we are building communities who have an awareness of their shared challenges, an understanding of how people can work together to address them, take action and experience a strong sense of ownership for its collective well-being.
Woh Hup has taken on the endeavour to support a low-income neighbourhood near one of their work sites. During our session, these volunteers articulated that they would like to build a community that cares for its older persons, invests in their youths, eats together and one where people open doors for each other. We understand that the “opening of doors” was meant both literally and metaphorically.
The volunteers came from different countries, but the common ground was the importance of family as a driving force in all they do. A Singaporean believed that volunteering would make him a better father. It would be an opportunity to live the values of respect, gratitude and kindness that he would like to impress on his children. He sees his children eventually joining him in his volunteer work. A few from China and India were saving to provide their families a more comfortable home and someone from Myanmar was working toward bringing his parents on holiday.
As we listened to each other, it was obvious that although we were from diverse backgrounds, we resonated with each other’s dreams, hopes and fears. We began seeing each other beyond our jobs, nationalities, achievements and simply as people doing our best for our loved ones.
“I build such beautiful homes for others and I often think of the day when I can build a nice home for my own family. This thought gives me a lot of energy to work hard and not be discouraged.” This statement was said by one but could be attributed to almost everyone.
These volunteers understood how gloomy life can get if the needs of loved ones were not met. More importantly, they understood that when people start looking out for each other, everyone is uplifted. By committing themselves to building community within and around their worksite, they have reinforced the foundation for the caring and cohesive society we are all building.
Enjoy your weekend.
“A person with ubuntu* is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.” ― Desmond Tutu
*the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”