When Min Lim read about the tragic case of a six-year-old girl who fell to her death last month after she was left alone at home, she felt a rollercoaster of emotions.
The 35-year-old events marketer, who is an aunt to several young nieces and nephews, admitted that when she first learnt that the girl had been home alone, her initial feelings were of anger. But that soon gave way to sadness and heartache.
Speaking to The Pride, Lim said: “I read that the mother had no choice, and my heart went out to them. I cannot imagine the circumstances the family must have been facing, that they had no help at all to care for the child for a few hours.”
That’s when an idea soon sprang to mind: She would start her own close-knit community of caregivers – aptly called Mother Hen Club – that mothers, or families in need, can tap to ensure that no child gets left alone at home.
But as an individual do-gooder, her efforts were limited. She realised that gathering a group of like-minded individuals with different abilities and skills would be her best bet “to grow a tree into a forest” and help more individuals.
So, in June, Lim launched the Do Good Asia Community (DGAC) Facebook group in a bid to connect those who wish to help, with those who need help. The Mother Hen Club is one of DGAC’s key initiatives.
Lim explained: “Our goal is to form a community of mothers willing to offer a safe sanctuary to children who may otherwise be left alone. We also want to let families know that they are not alone, and that the entire community has their back.”
With a grateful smile, Lim added: “Since its launch, many mothers and childhood educators have since come forward to join the Mother Hen Club. And once, the Mother Hen community also came together in less than an hour to help a mother whose child had fallen ill.”
But more than that, the beauty of DGAC is that it allows individual do-gooders to step up in their own ways.
So far, there have been offers of free tuition for kids, phonics workshops for parents, money management classes, and even life-skill lessons like swimming, among others.
Additionally, anyone can donate, and appeal, for necessities, such as food or even furniture. One user even donated an entire brand-new queen-sized mattress.
A community that strives to help anyone and everyone
“Honestly,” Lim said, “the response we’ve gotten so far from the community went beyond my expectations.”
She elaborated: “All the members are so selfless and awesome, I don’t think I can ever thank them enough. They never stop to doubt. Instead, they immediately extend help, just because they can.”
Lim gave a few touching examples.
One former special education teacher is currently organising a free preschool reading group, while a National Institute of Education teacher has reached out to a Primary 6 boy’s parents to offer him free tuition twice a week – even though his parents had only requested for tuition once a week, as they didn’t want to ask too much of the teacher.
A mother shared with the group that her child was running a high fever and asked to borrow a thermometer, as she could not afford to send her to a doctor. Instead, the community went above and beyond, and even offered to assist the mother with her child’s clinic bills.
Other members also rallied to gift resources to families who need it, such as when they were organising a birthday event for a 10-year-old child who had never celebrated a proper birthday before.
“On one particular Sunday,” Lim recalled, “I answered over 50 private messages from members wanting to help. It was fun and heart-warming to answer to such messages though. Never did it feel ‘overwhelming’.”
A regular supporter of ground-up movements since 2017, Lim is currently the only facilitator of DGAC.
She considers herself an ordinary salaried worker, who lives a very scheduled ordinary life. But once she’s off the clock, her life is anything but ordinary.
The first weeks after starting DGAC were the craziest, according to Lim. She had to spend hours approving members and answering messages. Because the DGAC network has to be built on trust, she also needed to reach out and build a rapport with individual members, to find out more about their circumstances and their needs. On certain occasions, she even had to sacrifice her weekends, or burn the midnight oil.
Lim also worked hard to promote DGAC by leaving comments about the community, and its efforts to help the underprivileged, under related posts on popular Facebook groups and pages such as the Singapore Kindness Movement and Mothership.
Through her consistent efforts, DGAC gained over 300 members in the first three days alone.
Lim shared: “That was when I spent hours and hours on my phone approving members and answering to private messages. The adrenaline at that time fuelled me.”
Today, DGAC has over 500 members, whom Lim proudly calls the real heroes, noting that the community would be nothing without its kind, helpful and supportive members.
You, too, can Do Good
If you’ve always wanted to do your part to help others in your community but don’t know where to begin, Lim may have the answer for you.
“All you have to do is care enough to try to make a difference, even to one person. I believe you do not have to be rich, famous or have a lot of resources and time in order to do good.
“You can do good with whatever you currently have. If you have a skill, share it. For example, we have members who bake, and provide birthday cakes to low-income families who cannot afford to celebrate their child’s birthday,” she said, adding that help can come in many forms.
“I’ve received countless private messages (PMs) from members saying they want to contribute, but they are not sure what they can do. I hope with the growth of DGAC and as more inspiring actions are shared, these members will find their own way to help.
“Our vision is to extend goodness to everyone,” she said. “Because everyone deserves goodness.”