Another Week Beyond – 2325

Dear Friends, 

We had a meeting with the leaders of a group of neighbours who call themselves Strong Women. When we reached their neighbourhood, we found these 3 women waiting for us and learnt that they had just returned from an early dinner together. Strong Women is about 18 months old, and it was formed with the purpose of nurturing mutual support and care among its members which comprised caregivers and homemakers living in 2 blocks of rental flats.

They also organised activities for themselves and their neighbourhood and listed a ‘strong women’ walk, a writing workshop, window shopping and a visit to a cafe as possible upcoming events to destress from the daily stresses of motherly duties. They also felt that workshops to acquire self-regulation strategies for one’s mental health would be useful.  One activity that sparked much enthusiasm was a potluck meal and so we asked if it was because everyone got to eat.  The answer was “Yes” but importantly, “It is because food creates the opportunity for us to bond and hear each other’s stories.”

One of them elaborated, “When I mentioned I was moving here, my colleague told me that rental flat people are ‘complicated’ which made me feel scared when I first moved in. I was afraid to even talk to neighbours but since Beyond encouraged us to connect with neighbours, I realised that the people here are actually okay!  Everyone’s situation is different, and everyone has a reason why they are living here. Some are single mothers like me, some sold their homes, and some are seniors without children. There’s nothing wrong with people here, everyone’s friendly, and I feel safe.”

Another concurred and shared that she was initially terrified of certain neighbours and would “run off” to avoid meeting them. Today, after participating in several neighbourhood activities and getting to know her neighbours, she feels very comfortable and safe.

There was obviously much psychological safety among these women, and we felt privileged to be trusted with their struggles. The 3rd person present revealed that before joining Strong Women, she did not talk with any neighbour because she experiences severe anxiety even for the simple task of ordering food at a hawker centre. This is a condition stemming from a difficult childhood that she is constantly trying to overcome, and it was the first time, her friends were hearing about it.  With much gentleness, her friends listened and assured her of their support. Everyone smiled when one of the women said that she would be happy to be her coach. “Next time we go makan, you will help us all to order, but we start by ordering one drink first!”

As practitioners of Asset Based Community Development, we are guided by the principles that everyone has a gift to contribute and relationships build community. Relationships or friendships are the basis for people to care about each other and such care is both a goal and an impact of our work. The women we met attribute the positive developments in their neighbourhood to our presence. They observed that since they got to know us, they have become more aware of the different service providers in their neighbourhood. The services have been helpful but the “friendly” neighbourhood where they feel safe and comfortable emerged only because neighbours reached out to each other as friends.

For peace, community, and friendship,

Gerard

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. — Thomas Aquinas

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

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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?

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

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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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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 >