Mask wearing, hand sanitising, and keeping a social distance are now routine in our daily fight against COVID-19. However, there may be times when we let down our guard. This was where a group of Singapore Polytechnic students stepped in, to remind their neighbours not only about the importance of such preventive measures, but also to look out for the vulnerable elderly in their midst.  

For their efforts, the students were presented with an HDB’s Friends of Our Heartland (FOH) award, which recognises volunteers who have made a positive impact in their community. We sat down with team leaders Ng Dong Wei and Sheryl Lim to find out more about their initiative.  

Students from Singapore Polytechnic who organised workshops for their community

Hi Dong Wei and Sheryl, congratulations on winning the FOH award! What inspired you to come up with these workshops?

Sheryl: We wanted to do something that could help our neighbours protect themselves in these uncertain times, so we decided to raise awareness of good personal hygiene. Practising good personal hygiene may be something basic and simple, but it makes all the difference in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Dong Wei: We decided to organise workshops for Punggol and Tampines residents. As the workshops are conducted virtually, we had to think of creative ways to keep residents engaged and interested in the message we wanted to share. That is why we came up with the idea for them to create their own hand sanitiser holders and embroider decorative flowers onto their face masks. This way, they can enjoy themselves while picking up tips on good personal hygiene at the same time.

Preparations for the hand sanitiser holder and mask embroidery workshops

What was it like to organise a virtual event?

Dong Wei: This was our first time organising a virtual event, so we had to learn on the job. From procuring the materials needed, to managing the technical aspects of the event, we faced many challenges along the way. But when I saw how enthusiastic and active the residents were during the workshops, it was all worth it.

Sheryl: We wanted to provide residents the opportunity to remain connected to their community, safely. As part of the workshop, we encouraged residents to gift the completed masks to their neighbours and to take photos with their neighbours. Seeing their smiling faces as they gifted their carefully embroidered masks, was priceless.

The virtual workshops in session

Why do you think it is important to remain connected to your community?

Dong Wei: We wanted to remind people that it’s important to look out for one another in difficult and uncertain times like these. We distributed the hand sanitiser holders made by the residents to the seniors living in the area. One elderly lady was so touched, she teared up when we passed her a goodie bag with the hand sanitiser holder. She simply said ‘Terima kasih’ (thank you in Malay), but we could feel how much our visit and gift meant to her. That was the most memorable moment for me throughout this whole experience.

Sheryl: We hope more youths will step forward to organise such events for the community, and spread the spirit of caring for one another.

Giving out goodie bags to the seniors living in the area

More on the FOH programme and HDB Community Week 2021 here.

Photos courtesy of Ng Dong Wei and Sheryl Lim

  • Farihin Khairunan

    Writer who believes that the simplest words make the greatest impact. Spends all her money on pretty notebooks that she will most probably never use.

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