Asanul Fariq and Norhasyimah Awaludin stock a small space outside their Tampines flat with daily essentials such as rice, biscuits, drinks, and shower gels. They call it the Riqmah Kindness Corner, where anyone can take whatever they need, no questions asked.
For the couple, giving back to the community has always been something that’s close to their hearts. “Years ago, we were volunteering, going door-to-door to provide the needy with groceries. We were helping a beneficiary rearrange her food items when we discovered that the cabinet was largely empty, except for a packet of instant noodles,” the couple recalls. “That incident really inspired us to try and help as many people as possible.”
A Family Initiative to Help the Underprivileged
Though the take-up for items at Riqmah Kindness Corner was initially slow, word soon spread. “The supplies that were supposed to last a month were gone in under a week,” Norhasyimah smiles. “We’re just happy to be able to reach out to so many people.”
Fariq also shares how his four sons, who are between 12 and 20 years old, restock supplies and keep Riqmah Kindness Corner organised. They also help in charity events that Riqmah Kindness Corner occasionally participates in.
“We once had to pack 150 care packs in two days. The whole family was about a quarter way through and decided to rest for the night. The following day, I woke up earlier to complete the task, only to find out that my youngest son, Irfan, had stayed up to finish the packing,” Fariq beams. “Through our efforts, we’re hoping to impart the values of giving and sharing to our sons— and they have really made us proud.”
Forming a Tight-Knit Community
As Riqmah Kindness Corner is right outside the couple’s home, Fariq and Norhasyimah often take the opportunity to greet those who come by, and strike up conversations. Over time, they have forged many friendships, within and beyond the neighbourhood.
“When word first got around, we had neighbours from different floors and blocks coming over to visit Riqmah Kindness Corner. Some of them were curious, but most of them offered words of encouragement and donations. These things really keep us going,” Norhasyimah says.
Planting the Seed of Kindness
What motivates the couple the most is when they see acts of kindness spreading within and even beyond the neighbourhood.
Fariq and Norhasyimah’s neighbours who live directly across them, have been supportive of the Kindness Corner since it first started. “At times, our neighbours help the beneficiaries, especially the elderly, transport heavier items such as rice to the ground floor.”
The couple’s act of kindness has also inspired kindness corners similar to Riqmah Kindness Corner in other towns. “We’re really heartened when we receive calls and texts on how to set up similar kindness corners,” they smile.
An annual celebration of the community spirit in our heartlands, the HDB Community Week showcases the rich tapestry of our heartland experiences, through an array of exciting and engaging activities. This year, we also launched the #OurGoodNeighbours challenge, as part of the Good Neighbours Movement. Residents were invited to share what they think it means to be a good neighbour through video submissions – watch them here:
Photos by Fitri Diana and Adeline Ang