It always amazes us when neighbours decide that their neighbourhood belongs to them and with a little effort and some enthusiasm, make the place a lot more liveable for all who live there. 4 mothers in the Ghim Moh neighbourhood have come together as “Genuine Hearts” to reach out to their neighbours especially older persons and those with disabilities. They would like to ensure that these vulnerable neighbours are linked to some support that improves their quality of life. They also coordinate the redistribution of donated food and other gifts, and in the past month, they have roped in their husbands and friends to get weekly Sepak Takraw and Zumba sessions going.
“Genuine Hearts” is an informal group that began in March this year and it is currently led by Aidah Samat, 42 years old and a mother of 6 children aged from 21 to 2 years old. While the group was initially started by another neighbour to redistribute food donations, Aidah is glad that its members have taken on her ideas after she assumed leadership. She envisions engaging the youth with meaningful activities as well as providing stay-home moms with computer skills. She is also well aware that to do so she needs to be supporting the efforts of others. So, she works closely with Ulu Pandan Stars a grassroots tuition programme to address issues that hinder children’s attendance as well as FunFit, a volunteer group that conducts a weekly fitness programme for children and youth.
Aidah tells us that volunteering comes with many challenges. Some residents have questioned the group’s intentions and even made some hurtful comments. Such moments were most discouraging, but every time it happened her fellow volunteers simply stayed focus on the task at hand and she draws much strength and inspiration from their persevering commitment.
Next Saturday, Aidah will be volunteering at Fairground for All as a “book” on the shelves of our human library. She will be on loan to readers for a chat about her life experiences and is prepared to receive the difficult questions that may emerge. This is one of different efforts to promote dialogue and understanding among people from diverse backgrounds. There will also be an interactive drama performance, and hopefully a crowd reflecting the inclusion and social cohesion that the event promotes.
Would really love to see you there.
Enjoy your weekend.
When you call a community home, everyone becomes family. – Justin Farren, who works and resides in Singapore