Another Week Beyond – 1850

Dear Friends,
Generation Acts Club International http://gen-acts.org/ is a partner who has been providing weekly learning support activities to 10 children the past 3 months. In all, more than 15 children have visited their programme but only 10 have been regular. These volunteers take pains to prepare activities that are engaging and fun. So, when children do not show up, it is understandably a little disappointing. Currently, these volunteers have stopped their activities to review their efforts and we suggested that that they visit the children’s families to get a better appreciation of their students’ background.

At their first stop, they met Rani a single mother of 4 who shared how pleased she was that she managed to secure a 2-room rental flat in a new neighbourhood for her children. She explained that it was important for their comfort now that they are “older and bigger.” Rani has a constant pain in her right arm that she has been carrying for years after an infection. Doctors have told her that she will never be able to regain the strength in her arm and she will have to learn to manage the chronic pain. As such, she finds it difficult securing employment, but it was obvious from her cheerful chatter about her family that the discomfort does not stop her from fulfilling her role as a mother.

Next, the volunteers met the Chans whose home appeared cluttered at first sight. However, after a closer look, they realised that the living room was filled with the tools of dad’s trades. Mom is a home-maker that ensures that these tools do not encroach into meals and sleeping arrangements and the children try not to get in the way when dad is repairing the electric scooters that neighbours and friends bring to fix. Apart from fixing electric scooters, dad takes on assignments with 3 different food delivery services and the food carriers are his other tools that are neat stacked up in his living room. Mom tells us she is really proud of how hard her husband works just to keeps thing afloat for all at home.

Finally, that evening they met Norra and her husband who welcomed them warmly and told them how pleased they were that children in their neighbourhood had a programme that helped them learn and catch up with their school work. They were especially happy that they own children spoke about the programme enthusiastically. Norra and her husband were most amiable, and they shared how they were childhood sweethearts who decided to start a family. Norra’s husband then chipped in saying that he decided to marry her after seeing how she could stretch $50 for a week’s dinners. Without missing a beat, Norra proudly elaborated how it is actually done. On a more sombre note, both hoped that their children would never have their experience of being incarcerated. Several years ago, out of desperation they handled contraband, but the law caught up with them quickly.

At the end of the evening, Karen – a Gen-Acts volunteer reflected that meeting the families left her with a sense of respect for their resilience. She marvelled at how challenges whether it was a medical condition, a home infested by bedbugs or the inability to replace malfunctioning household items were always taken in one’s stride. People just got on with their life regardless and she believes that they have resolved to be strong for the sake of their children.

Enjoy your week.
Gerard

A father’s goodness is higher than the mountain, a mother’s goodness deeper than the sea. – Japanese Proverb

PAST AWB POSTS

Another Week Beyond 2429 – An Experience of Connectedness and Contentment

by: Chia Jie Min, Community Worker  Last Tuesday evening, Lisfah, our community enabler, and I set up our usual table at the student care centre for the monthly “tabung” (savings) programme at Lengkok Bahru. We waited with anticipation for the usual buzz of mothers dropping in to sit with us, chat and swap stories about community happenings.   That particular day, however, many mothers could not attend. So, it was unusually quiet. Lisfah was looking a little forlorn as she was looking forward to catching up with her neighbours. She always found her conversations with them comforting as they reassured her

Read More »

Another Week Beyond 2428 – The Making of a Youth Leader

By: Nina, Community Relations I met Atiqah ten years ago when I was a Community Worker. It was at a photography workshop we had organized for youths. She was a shy, soft-spoken 16-year-old. Her family had only recently moved in, so she didn’t know any other youths in the neighborhood yet. Throughout the few sessions we held, she mostly kept to herself, except when she offered to help me with minor tasks. Despite her discomfort being around others, she always showed up when invited to our programmes. I always admired Atiqah’s quiet determination and was pleased to see her slowly

Read More »

Another Week Beyond – 2427

No Wealth, No Health? Written by: Pei Ling, Community Relations How often do you find yourself in this situation? You’re unwell or in pain, and it’s been going on for while. But you choose not to see a medical practitioner because you feel you cannot afford it. This is a common scenario amongst Singapore’s financially-challenged – families living in rental public housing. And this is what happened to Ismail. When I visited Ismail on a routine follow-up, he was limping and clearly in pain. He told me he had a slipped disc. I asked about the medical treatment he was

Read More »

Another Week Beyond 2426 – Grizzly to Teddy

by Wilson, Community Worker Grizzly to Teddy During one of our recent learning programmes, one of the kids who attended was an often moody, sometimes truculent 8-year-old.  Let’s call him “Teddy.” Our expectations of Teddy were, from experience, tempered. How well he participated in our activities and interacted with others depended on his disposition from week to week. At this particular session, Teddy was what we had come to describe as “his usual self” – shouting vulgarities and being disruptive. He risked injury by playing with a sliding door, even after being asked by a volunteer to stop. In fact,

Read More »

Another Week Beyond 2425 – Do you see me? Do you hear me?

by Nina, Community Relations Do you see me? Do you hear me? Last Saturday, we held a Learning Journey for members of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). This is an immersive journey we offer to interested parties who are keen to understand how   communities in public rental housing live, work and play. Our 19 YPO guests were led on a Community Walkabout by 11 Community Guides – each a resident of Lengkok Bahru of varying ages. Their task was to lead our visitors through shared spaces in the neighborhood, while revealing the purpose and character of each area visited. After

Read More »

Community, a place to care and grow (Another Week Beyond – 2424)

By Grace Yew, Community Worker “Pergi, jom” (Let’s go!). We go back to office with you to help you carry all these. You one person, how to carry all alone?” Fauziah insisted as she walked to the side of the lorry, ready to jump onto the passenger’s seat. Her husband who had helped her to hoist two huge tables and fifteen stools onto the lorry followed.  I laughed in disbelief.   It was 6 pm and Fauziah, had been out since ten in the morning, supporting 15 children to set up a community gathering below their flats that boasted carnival-style games

Read More »

Another Week Beyond – 2423

“Oh no, more bee hoon,” a mother uttered half embarrassed. “We need to coordinate better the next time,” she added. Our colleague who was present at this children’s birthday party organized by neighbours quickly responded, “Hey, we are having a been hoon feast prepared in 3 different ways and it’s great to have 3 flavours!” The generosity, hospitality and ownership displayed by the organizers were the indicators of success that we sought, and these were already in abundance. For example, a young man appeared in his military uniform to check that the cake his mother had baked on his behalf

Read More »

Reconnecting with Gratitude 

2 weeks ago, our senior advisor Gerard received an email titled “Reconnecting with Gratitude” from someone who volunteered with us 20 years ago.  She told Gerard that she got his email from a friend of a friend and wanted to thank him in person for what he had said to her then. “I recall what you said to me that has impacted my life to this day,” was how she had put it.  She wrote that she was helping with a juggling programme where she accompanied the children to performances and as she was driving them back to the Centre

Read More »

PAST AWB POSTS

Another Week Beyond 2429 – An Experience of Connectedness and Contentment

by: Chia Jie Min, Community Worker  Last Tuesday evening, Lisfah, our community enabler, and I set up our usual table at the student care centre for the monthly “tabung” (savings) programme at Lengkok Bahru. We waited with anticipation for the usual buzz of mothers dropping in to sit with us, chat and swap stories about community happenings.   That particular day, however, many mothers could not attend. So, it was unusually quiet. Lisfah was looking a little forlorn as she was looking forward to catching up with her neighbours. She always found her conversations with them comforting as they reassured her

Read more >

Another Week Beyond 2428 – The Making of a Youth Leader

By: Nina, Community Relations I met Atiqah ten years ago when I was a Community Worker. It was at a photography workshop we had organized for youths. She was a shy, soft-spoken 16-year-old. Her family had only recently moved in, so she didn’t know any other youths in the neighborhood yet. Throughout the few sessions we held, she mostly kept to herself, except when she offered to help me with minor tasks. Despite her discomfort being around others, she always showed up when invited to our programmes. I always admired Atiqah’s quiet determination and was pleased to see her slowly

Read more >

Another Week Beyond – 2427

No Wealth, No Health? Written by: Pei Ling, Community Relations How often do you find yourself in this situation? You’re unwell or in pain, and it’s been going on for while. But you choose not to see a medical practitioner because you feel you cannot afford it. This is a common scenario amongst Singapore’s financially-challenged – families living in rental public housing. And this is what happened to Ismail. When I visited Ismail on a routine follow-up, he was limping and clearly in pain. He told me he had a slipped disc. I asked about the medical treatment he was

Read more >