“We feel like we’re giving back to a community that’s in desperate need of positivity right now during this pandemic.”

With Covid-19 measures in place, and people encouraged to stay indoors, especially if they have not been fully vaccinated yet, one of the communities that faces the most challenges is the elderly.

There are some seniors who live alone and miss their family or would just like to talk to someone. You can start by reaching out to them with a call, a text or see them face to face.

Another way you can spend time with them is by watching a virtual show ‘Old is Gold’ on Sunday (Aug 22), which has more than 35 performers across the globe coming together to perform songs, dances and skits that will invoke the nostalgia of yesteryear.

Team Famigos

 

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A post shared by Team Famigos 🙂 (@teamfamigos)

Calling themselves Team Famigos (a mix of the words “family” and “amigos”), a team of teens from Overseas Family School (OFS) and Tanglin Trust School planned the virtual performance.

The team, consisting of Vivaan Kapoor, 14, Tanish Bengani,14, Keertana Vemuri, 14, and Tarini Bengani, 16, started its journey in June when Tarini suggested participating in this year’s YMCA ‘Youth for Causes’ initiative. It allowed the team of four to get seed funding of $1,600 for a fundraiser for a charity of their choice.

“We feel that amidst the pandemic, the issue of the social isolation of the elderly has become increasingly prevalent,” says Vivaan.

Keertana shares that “I think a lot of Singaporeans are lucky. Singapore is such a small place and a lot of people can virtually walk down the street and meet their parents.”

Unlike those who live in Singapore, the team have been unable to meet their grandparents, who live abroad, for over two years now. It is because they missed that physical connection with their grandparents that they realise how some seniors in Singapore may feel increasingly isolated.

That’s why the team decided to raise funds for Lion Befrienders.

 

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A post shared by Team Famigos 🙂 (@teamfamigos)

Lion Befrienders supports socially isolated and lonely seniors in Singapore through various services such as group homes, personal care and support groups. The organisation also provides chances for seniors to build friendships with members of the community through befriending events and its centres, which gives the elderly a chance to learn new skills.

Acting executive director Karen Wee tells The Pride: “Lions Befrienders is very honoured to be Team Famigos’ preferred charity to assist in advocacy, and fundraising efforts for lonely seniors or elderly who are socially isolated during the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic.

She added that Team Famigos has had a range of enterprising ideas, even creating a comics series highlighting our need to reach out to youth and young adults via social media.

“‘Old is Gold’ is yet another creative venture that Team Famigos aims to make an annual event at Overseas Family School. Our seniors, who live in rented flats, are very grateful that they are remembered, and that people care for them,” says Karen.

With the greenlight from YMCA and support from Lions Befrienders, the team started to put their fundraising initiative in motion. The plan: To bring young performers together to put on a virtual show.

“As it’s online and it’s entertainment, people from around the world will be able to tune in,” explains Tarini.

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No business like show business

But planning a virtual show is not easy.

“I think initially the greatest challenge was to get people to perform,” shares Vivaan.

The team wanted to curate a diverse range of performers and performances but could only get people to contribute on a volunteer basis.

He adds that they had hoped for “some well-known figures to be able to attract attention for our cause, and it was quite a big challenge to reach out to many people.”

Another challenge for them was dealing with companies.

“The whole process of making the business plan, presenting our plan to companies to get sponsorships and reaching out to volunteers. We (have) never really done anything like this before,” Tanish tells The Pride.

Their young age made it challenging to approach and convince potential sponsors. Fortunately, they secured partnerships with three companies — Radio Masti 24×7, Intergr8 fuels and Samarth eldercare.

Something for everyone

 

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A post shared by Team Famigos 🙂 (@teamfamigos)


With the sponsors on board and volunteers in line, the team managed to put on an exciting mixture of performances from around the world, revolving around the three themes of Throwback, Positivity and Togetherness.

“We think that the public would find it especially interesting that we have people performing from overseas, like we have a girl from South Africa who is doing a ballet piece,” shares Tarini.

The team hopes to strike a nostalgic feeling for their audience, with many performances including songs from the 1950s to the 80s. For example, Singaporean artist, Shaun Spencer, will be performing the iconic ‘Lean on Me’ by Bill Withers.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CSlxWl7hPAj/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Fans of the local hit TV show The Little Nyonya can also enjoy an acapella rendition of its theme song by Olivia Ong, or 如燕 (ru yan) as she is better known. The team teased that the performance will take viewers down memory lane with scenes of Singapore and its old heritage sites being screened during the song.

The team has other acts such as comedy skits, piano performances and even a cup stacking demonstration.

The team hopes that different generations can tune in together to watch this show, even if they are physically apart. It would be a reminder for the elderly that their families and friends all care about them.

“We always want them to feel hope and (that) there’s brightness,” states Keertana

Serious about fun

 

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A post shared by Team Famigos 🙂 (@teamfamigos)


Despite the focus on a light-hearted and entertaining show, the team is very serious about how they want to advocate for people to care more for their elders.

“They can feel isolated, neglected by society, and feel discouraged because of their age and position,” shares Vivaan.

“One of our supporters told us that ‘having white hair makes them feel invisible’. We hope that through this show, they can see that they’re not invisible. That youths and people in general, do see and appreciate them.”

“So, especially during this pandemic, I think Singaporeans need to step up and reach out to our seniors.”

If you would like to support Team Famigos, tune into the show on Sunday (Aug 22) at 5pm SGT on its YouTube channel.

For updates, you can follow its Instagram, Facebook and YouTube pages. You can also donate, with 100% of donations going directly to Lion Befrienders.

Top Image: Tarini