3 Gen Gaigai
On the eighth of June, around 30 volunteers gathered at All Saints Home (Tampines) all ready to bring the residents on a shopping trip. This time, to further highlight the promotion of intergenerational bonding and #3gen, the volunteer opportunity was extended to be family-friendly and encouraged parents to bring their child along to engage with the elderly community. Following the success of the project that first started in 2018 by the graduates from the Youth Development Camp, it has benefited 20 senior citizens this year. For some of the residents, this is the first time heading out of the home since years they have been there.
It was a day filled with fun, joy and laughter as the residents head out to the neighbourhood for gai gai at Fairprice, makan at Koufu and games at the void deck. All excited, the seniors took turns to enter Fairprice with the volunteers, ticking the items off their wishlists while the rest got engaged in an exhilarating game of Bingo. It was a challenge wheeling the seniors in Fairprice as it was crowded and the aisles were narrow. However, it was great to see our volunteers practising good wheelchair handling practices that they learned from Mr Mohan, one of the volunteer leaders at All Saints Home, during our volunteer training and briefing session, and ensured the safety of the seniors, themselves and other shoppers in the supermarket.
With all the big bags small bags that they got from their shopping trip, the seniors and volunteers moved on to Koufu for a light-hearted tea break and chit chat session with their friends from the home and the volunteers. Everyone was a little shy and paiseh at the start. With the food in the middle of the round dining table, no one wanted to be the one making the first move to help himself with the food. But eventually, with a few conversations, everyone got more comfortable with one another and enjoyed the food together.
We were happy to see a few first-time volunteers really enjoying themselves in the event. Ms Tian Su Yee was one of them. “This is my first time volunteering and attending such a meaningful event with the elderly, though interaction time was short. Throughout the event, I learned how to wheel the elderly carefully, how to communicate effectively with them and felt happy to see the elderly enjoying this event so much. I will continue to provide my services to the community whenever I am free,” said Ms Tian, as she reflected on her experience.
It was equally delightful to see volunteers coming back again to serve the community with us. One of them was Ms Priyadarshini. Despite knowing that communication would be a challenge to her given that most of the senior citizens only understood Mandarin and Chinese dialects, it did not deter her from giving back to the elderly community. She said, “Truth be told, I started panicking when I was paired with a senior citizen who was only Chinese speaking. However, the other volunteers and the event I/Cs were really considerate and made sure to check in on how I was doing and helped me translate what the elderly was trying to communicate with me. They reassured me that they were there to help me. This really helped me to feel at ease as I was able to build rapport with the elderly and attend to his needs! Furthermore, his nurse was always around to check in on me as well to see if I had any trouble navigating the wheelchair. Thus, on the whole, I had a great time volunteering with my friends there and had no regrets!”
The event came to a heartwarming end as the volunteers presented a small token of appreciation to all 190 residents at All Saints Home for their contribution to the nation as the pioneer generation of Singapore. Many volunteers had shared their takeaways from this experience with us. One of them that made an impression on me was by Ms Ong Siew Yuan. She said, “This event was a very enjoyable experience for me. It made me realise that there are many people who require aid in many areas. The elderly taught me an important lesson and principle in life, in which ‘simple is virtue’ and ‘simplicity can also bring great joy and happiness’. I would like to express my gratitude to Blossom World Society for organising the event and providing me with such a great opportunity. Thank you!”
Blossom World Society and the 3 Gen Gaigai Committee would like to thank All Saints Home, Koufu and Fairprice for being part of this project; and not forgetting our volunteers, for spending a wonderful Saturday afternoon with us to make this project a successful one. Thank you!
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Voices from 3GG committee members: