Another Week Beyond – 2018

Dear Friends,

With the assistance of Lalamove, an approved courier who provided their services pro-bono, we delivered 41 computers and 7 portable wi-fi dongles this week.    In total, we have given out 122 computers and 81 dongles. While school holidays begin today and home-based learning takes a break, our efforts to bridge the digital divide will continue as digital inclusion is very much social inclusion.  2 days ago, in a Channel News Asia feature entitled, Home-based learning blues: Life in a rental flat during the COVID-19 circuit breaker, a mother was quoted “In my heart, it is not cramped. We are thankful to have a roof over our heads.”   I was much moved by her capacity for gratitude but obviously, space whether physical, virtual or within our hearts and minds is precious.

12   mothers were discouraged when stricter precautionary measures announced last Saturday, prevented them from proceeding with a home-baking project that would have given them some income to meet family expenditure during Ramadan. Thankfully, 6 of them have reasonable sewing skills and they received a sewing machine from Sew-Forth, a corporate social responsibility initiative of Artelier Furnishing and Aratamete Interiors.   They have now taken on a project to sew reusable facemasks where 100% of the proceeds will go to them.  The first order they are fulfilling is going to a residential facility for older persons.  If you like to support these mothers, you may order your masks here from Monday, 4th May 20.   As for the other 6 mothers, we are helping them with job placements and 1 has already found work.

On Tuesday, my colleague Hooi Boon was on Capital 958 radio sharing about the impact of the circuit-breaker on our members. Following the programme, several older persons called us asking for food. For those residing in neighbourhoods we are not operating in, we linked them with Lions Befrienders who has an island-wide Befriending Service reaching out to seniors at risk of social isolation.  The pooling of resources is essential if we are to meet needs efficiently and effectively.  

This week we distributed 8,546 meals and 410 food packs to 14 different locations and while we have at least 25 individuals and corporations who made this possible,  we would like to mention our cooperation with Project Makan  which is an initiative of the Social Kitchen at the YMCA and  SHINE Children and Youth Services.  When we started working together a week ago, they    provided 208 meals but as of yesterday, they have committed to providing 1,054 meals daily for 5 days a week and will continue to do so till the end of the circuit breaker. We are also very grateful to Love Connect, a government grassroots volunteer group in North Bridge Road for distributing food daily to residents. Our volunteers there are mainly older persons and precautionary measures do not allow those above 60 years old to help.

Finally, at the end of April a total of 300 families have been registered with our Covid-19 Family Assistance Fund.   We will continue to systematically reach out to more families and to date have committed   $286,870 for 255 families.  100% of donations to our Covid-19 Response will go to families who have suffered a substantial loss of income. 

Today is Labour Day. Let us spare a thought for daily-rated low-wage workers without employment benefits, many of whom currently have no work or income. 

Wishing you, health and peace of mind.

Sincerely,

Gerard 

 No work is insignificant. All labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.  – Martin Luther King, Jr.

PAST AWB POSTS

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

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Another Week Beyond – 2427

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Another Week Beyond 2426 – Grizzly to Teddy

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Another Week Beyond – 2421

“Don’t bring your hooligan attitudes from your neighbourhood into ours!” A mother screamed at a teenager as he continued taunting her from a distance. Just a few minutes ago, the teenager and his friends were enjoying a game of street soccer against opponents below 12 years old.  His friends and he were visibly bigger and those watching were rooting for the “home team” of younger boys.   When spectators accused one of the older boys of unsporting rough play, play stopped, and angry words were exchanged all around. Recognising that they were not welcome, the older boys left the court grudgingly,

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PAST AWB POSTS

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 >