In celebration of the sixth annual Kindness Day tomorrow, The Pride is honouring some Ground-up Movements (GUMS) that have touched the lives of many marginalised groups in Singapore.
Cassia Resettlement Team
They’ve put a smile on many elderly faces at Cassia Crescent.
Formerly known as Dakota Adventures, the Cassia Resettlement Team (CRT) helps recently resettled residents of Cassia Crescent – coming from almost all 400 households of Dakota Crescent – to adjust to their new dwellings. Many of these are elderly who have lost neighbours, friends, and the community they had lived with.
Led by founders Cai Yinzhou, 27, and Lim Jingzhou, 21, CRT, with a team of 20 volunteers consisting of students, social workers, civil servants, doctors, therapists, and councillors, cover a variety of needs.
They work closely with residents’ committees, community centres, service providers, hospitals, and policymakers to better the quality of life for the residents and provide faster emergency response services.
From weekly house visits and community-building void deck parties, to haircuts, grocery shopping, and escorting residents to their medical appointments, CRT sets itself as a pillar of support for the community.
In a video by The Straits Times, 86-year-old resident Lim Juan Lin said: “I have trouble walking to the clinic, but Jingzhou told me not to worry about time. He encourages me and has been a great help.”
“Some of (the residents) have medical or mobility issues, making leaving home very difficult. So every Saturday, what we try to do is to bring them out to the hawker centre for lunch,” said Jingzhou.
Roses Of Peace
How about a rose to start a conversation on religious peace? That’s exactly what Mohamed Irshad, 28, did with Roses Of Peace.
Beginning as a Singapore Management University (SMU) student society founded in 2012, it brings together youths from various faiths to foster a peaceful, loving, and religiously harmonious society.
The movement aims to build bridges between different religious groups by encouraging dialogue through meetings and symposiums. They work with the public, key policymakers, and learning institutions, and train youth to become peace ambassadors and interfaith leaders.
Using the rose as a symbol of peace to connect with the public, Roses Of Peace gathered 300 volunteers in 2017 to distribute more than 10,000 roses with messages of peace from multiple faiths.
“If you look at the quotes from all the religious leaders be it Jesus Christ, Buddha, or the Prophet Muhammad, when it comes to the message of peace, there is a common message, and we, the volunteers, explain to the public that we are doing this to foster and maintain the peace in Singapore,” says Irshad.
Moving beyond just dialogue, Roses Of Peace recently christened 30 youth peace ambassadors trained in digital media advocacy and public speaking to act as advocates for the interfaith cause.
The Morning Greeters
How difficult is it to say “good morning” to your neighbour? Quite, it seems. Which is why The Morning Greeters (TMG) was formed.
Founder Adrian Phoon and the members of his movement have been to the four corners of the country to spread their message of positivity and joy to everyone they come in contact with.
“People (today) have become more skeptical and cautious, but that shouldn’t stop us from being kind and approachable,” says Phoon, 30.
So every Sunday at 7.15am for the past four years, this community of regular runners, have gathered without fail, rain or shine, greeting fellow runners with a smile, a nod, or a simple, “good morning”.
For the group, which ranges from 15 to 40 at each weekly gathering, it’s about spreading positivity while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and TMG wishes to reach out to the younger generations in the future.
“Runners come from all walks of life, and in the mornings, the best place to look for like-minded early risers is in the park,” says Phoon. “The main thing that I hope to advocate is the greeting culture and the acknowledgement of each individual. Cultivating a culture of taking stock of each other, watching each other’s backs while being present in the moment, through the run.”
You can’t call her a fairweather friend.
Harvard-educated lawyer Dipa Swaminathan, founder of #Itsrainingraincoats, is the embodiment of how a single person can make a difference to the lives of many.
Dipa started the movement in 2014 when she saw a few migrant workers toiling in the monsoon rain without any protection from the elements. But beyond merely providing raincoats in foul weather, #Itsrainingraincoats has become a platform where volunteers, organisations, and individuals can rally together to provide opportunities and a safety network for migrant workers.
It also organises activities such as potluck picnics, adventure events, and even having its first foray into fashion with a collaboration with students from Lasalle College Of the Arts for a designer raincoat project.
Whether it is advocating for construction companies to provide better equipment and safety measures, or collecting and distributing Starbucks food items to give to the workers, the initiative continues to grow.
It has also seen institutions such as United World College SEA (Dover Campus) stepping forward to contribute useful items.
Dipa states: “(Migrant workers) have built this country through the heat, rain, and haze. Several of them die, some get injured, there is a lot that we owe them, and these men are deserving of every bit.”
If you’d like to donate, collaborate, or volunteer, contact #Itsrainingraincoats through their Facebook Page.
U Cares Volunteers
It’s a passionate group of caring volunteers who contribute to diverse causes: They help the needy, children, the elderly and the sick, and also provide assistance for causes pertaining to the environment, safety, education and even health
To that end, U Cares works with various NGO’s and Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO), providing support for their activities.
“U Cares helps a lot of events – any organisation that needs our help, we will go,” says Johnson Ong, leader of U Cares. Constantly on the lookout for new issues to tackle, U Cares has been involved with such causes as climate change and energy conservation.
With their wide network of volunteers, they have also held events of their own as well as auctions to build a community around their philanthropic causes, raising more than $10,000 for the Kidney Dialysis Foundation (KDF) at one such event.
This Ground-up Movement has its eyes on the ground, with a recent promotional video for the Singapore Kindness Movement extolling the importance of simple acts of courtesy and kindness to improve the lives of others.
If you care enough to join them, you can find them at their Facebook Page.