Another Week Beyond – 2210

Beyond Another Week Beyond, Community

Dear friends, 

As they pick up their food packs during a food distribution exercise at the end of the month, representatives from some 100 households will also vote for 2 proposals they would like implemented in their neighbourhood. On their neighbourhood phone chat group, they have already seen a short video pitch of the 4 different proposals put forth by neighbours who are vying to serve as a Community Fellow. Nonetheless, at the food collection point, more information about each proposal will be available.

We are holding the selection of a community enhancement initiative in conjunction with a food exercise to suggest that caring for our community is caring for ourselves. However, this is most probably already a notion embraced by many in the neighbourhood. In January, when we held a briefing to explain how the call for proposals would work, the first thing a participant pointed out was to be mindful that this good intention does not harm the community. She said we had to be careful that the provision of a stipend to the Community Fellows did not cause discontent among neighbours who were already cooperating well in the service of their neighbourhood.

As we elaborated on the training and work expected of a Community Fellow, those in the discussion then reckoned that those who cannot offer that level of commitment should not even think about it. Otherwise, their attempt will be a disservice to their community. Hence, we reiterated why it is important for the community to decide which of their neighbours could do the job and we proceeded to facilitate a mock proposal selection process which participants caught on quickly. What struck us though was their response to our question, “What do you care about?” They cared about being able to pay their medical bills, putting food on the table, mental health, and their children’s education. The speed in which they replied suggested that the issues were top of mind.

Anyway, those who came for the briefing were asked to spread the word about the call for proposals. Those interested were to text us their name, the issue, and the reasons why they cared about it. We followed up with these people to flesh out the issues proposed, and there are now 5 proposals to address a range of issues. 

These proposals are also a reflection of the challenges experienced by the community and they include, a debt reduction mutual help group, an outreach team for older people living alone, emotional support for young parents, supervision of children whose parents worked long hours and guidance for single parents to purchase a flat. 

It is really heartening to see these people caring so deeply about challenges affecting their community. We may say it is only natural since they are only helping themselves, but must we really be troubled to be caring about others and the wellbeing of our community? Perhaps, this weekend, we could ponder what is it that we really care about? 

For peace, community, and purpose,


“In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it. – Marianne Williamson