Connecting local responses around the world
Along the journey, I have encountered some challenges and some strength working in the community.
Recently, a group of community volunteers gathered to review their dreams as community which they created 4 month earlier, below is the review, what they have archive so far and some plans to move forward:
Christina and the youths has recruited 2 other youths for arts performance.
Aliff 15, and Rasul 15, has been voluntarily and actively involves in the Kayaking activities.
Indra 21 is finally recruited in the National Service.
Mdm Siti has been working full time for the past three month in a restaurant, and she has been appointed as the outlet supervisor. She had also recommended and hired quit a number of our service users, youths and parents alike. Besides, she has been actively caring for 4 children, siblings in nearby community whom leaving with their single parents.
Mdm Siew Hiang and daughter 13th year old has been volunteering in Life program at Block 5 daily, to pack food and clean up the dishes.
POA: to reach out for more youths, more parents and elderly in the community. Plan events and support community events.
Children are going to school regularly, has shown improvement in attendance and result.
Mdm Mae’s daughter 12, has been selected to enrol in Singapore Soprano program.
Jeffrey 18, has enrolled in ITE and has sit.
POA: To Keep monitor children’s attendance and ensure that they are attending community tuitions program. Pc’s for e-learning for some family.
Kids has performed, in “Youths got Heart” event at Singapore National Library & Beyond Graduations.
POA: They would be practising for their next community event comes school holiday, also would like to take part in dance competitions in the future.
After the review, they begin to share on some of their challenges they facing in the community especially with their own community leaders, they felt that their work as volunteers were not recognise by their Leader and his existing committee. Most of the time, They will be informed on the happening/events or activities in the community on last minutes and expected to fill in the blank due to poor response of the other residents, and at time the children were not even provided with a drinks or a snacks when they attend certain event. They feel frustrated and not belonged in the community as they are not included even in the planning of the event for the community. Thus, some of them has decided not to volunteer or support any of the event or activity run by their Resident Committee (RC).
We felt that we should support them to resolve this issue. So, we ask them what we can do together to resolve this issue. After some discussion, we all agreed to meet their Resident Committee Leader, Mr A to clarify things, which they called it as a feedback session, and they needed us to support them by getting the Mr A to agree for the meeting.
We had a meeting with Mr A, to inform him about this tension in the community, and he was so hesitant to agree for the meeting as he felt that these volunteers are started demanding things even want to have their say in everything, some are taking advantage and he is pressured by his own committee of him being over supportive to this volunteers, which they also claim as pro- malay volunteers. We reflect the statement together base on few event organise by the volunteers and realise that, it’s not all true, as whatever event had taken place had fair invitation and attendance of different races. Beside all this, the RC has been very busy with a new transition happening in the community as there are new residential flats opened recently, and there is so many issues arising among the new residents. We did assure him that this volunteers are here to support him and his committee, they are not here to compete or replace the existing committee. After further discussion, He decided to attend the feedback session.
On the day of the feedback session, I was a bit nervous if it going to be any explosion J, we begin with a light refreshment, we had everyone to sit in the circle so that everyone can face each other, we had some volunteers to take care of the children’s. Mr A begin to address the group by thanking the group for being so supportive in the community for the past 2 years, and he further explain his challenges and everything that happening in the community. After that, the volunteers begin to voice out their concern and challenges. Both party listen to each other and begin to understand each other’s view and challenges. At the end of the session, they begin to share ideas of what they can do together in the community.
Just before everyone leave, we had a short de-briefing with everyone, and the volunteers commented that “They felt, their voice has been heard, they are now understood their RC better, and they felt humbled as their leader came down to meet them, and they were amazed with their leaders openness for the session, some of the youth volunteers also felt honoured to have a closer encounter with Mr A. They are inspired to support their leader in anyway they can”. Mr A thanked them for all their support and understanding,” I hope we can do quarterly feedback, update and planning sessions”, he said.
As I’m reflecting this whole session and how we arrived to the point of having the dialog and resolve this tension , I have learned on how important it is to create that space for people to meet and have a dialog, I felt this method does apply for all aspect of life involving human being. For this to happen I have to believe in the power of people and they do have a strength that can complement each other needs in their community.
The volunteers are in the midst of planning for the next community event together with their RC and CC, so my journey continue as a partner and peacemaker J.
“To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, and to be certain of the things we cannot see”. Book of Hebrew.