[Why we volunteer at Moral Welfare Home]
Over the course of this first half of the year, some people have asked why we have chosen to visit this particular welfare home regularly. It started off with an email by a staff from the Home last year, asking if we could volunteer with them. After visiting the Home, it was clear that we had to start volunteering activities with the Home, as these residents were isolated from the general society. They also may not be well understood as over 80% of the residents have varying degrees of intellectual disabilities, and other forms of disabilities. The general public would not come into much contact with most of them, as they stay in the Home, while mass outings would only be possible with the help of sponsors and volunteers.
Our first volunteering activity was a terrarium making workshop for just 10 of the residents (there are a total of about 120 to 130 residents), and subsequently, an end of the year Christmas celebration in their big hall. At the end of the celebration, a Deaf resident came up to me, hugged me, and gave me a thumbs up sign repeatedly. She signed to me, asking me when I would come back, and I vaguely signed ‘next year’, as it was nearing the the end of the year. She then made me promise to visit the Home by pressing her thumb against mine, and that sealed our commitment to continue our visits.
Some first time volunteers are overwhelmed by the over-friendliness of some residents, as they have no qualms coming up to you, giving you many high-5s and shaking hands repeatedly with you, even though they have just met you. Over time, many of our volunteers have come back, as they know that they will always be welcome by the residents. This photo taken at the Home always makes me smile, as it reminds me that sometimes the most important things in life are intangible, such as a caring touch, listening ear and a friendly smile. Be Kind SG, a ground up movement, aims to outreach to such ‘invisible’ communities and we wish for more volunteers to come forward to befriend the residents. Let us truly be an inclusive society.
Photo credit:Harriet Koh