Thursday, September 29, 2016

Creating a Shinier World

I could have been enjoying eating mooncakes at home. Instead, I decided to do a good deed with my fellow NYP volunteers, and I was glad I did just that!

Project Clean-Up, which took place on 15th September, was an event organized by the Home Nursing Foundation (HNF). The objective of the exercise was to help the elderly patients who live independently but are physically unfit, and unable to manage their household chores.

HNF delivers comprehensive care programmes dedicated to patients who require emotional, physical and medical support at their homes. It often organises community events to look after the social welfare of patients and beyond nursing or medical care. In July this year, I too had the opportunity to participate in the Community Awareness Carnival organized by HNF as a volunteer helper.  So when I heard about this new project by HNF, I promptly signed up.

Besides volunteers from NYP, there were also volunteers from Bayer, a Life Sciences company that focuses on pharmaceutical research.

Bayer generously sponsored essential items like packets of rice for the patients. Since 15th September was also the Lunar Mid-Autumn Festival, the organization also presented boxes of sugar-free and Halal mooncakes to the households. Together, students like myself and Bayer’s employees spent our time cleaning up the homes of the patients, and ensuring that each home was squeaky clean.

Mr Fong Ah Choy’s house

The gentleman in photo above is Mr Fong Ah Choy. Mr Fong is 88 years old, wheelchair bound and partially deaf. He has been living alone since the passing of his wife. He has friendly neighbours who would bring him provisions occasionally, and nurses who would visit him once in a few weeks to monitor his medical condition. Mr Fong can only speak dialects (a mixture of Hokkien and Teochew), and we were fortunate to have a teammate who could speak the same language, hence she became our translator.

Cleaning in progress

We swept and mopped the floor of Mr Fong’s house, cleaning the windows and wiping the doors. During the clean-up, we also befriended him and asked him questions. But we were careful not to mention his wife, as it may sadden him. Mr Fong was appreciative and happy about our visit, and would gladly welcome us again.

Group photo of another team

There were a total of 9 teams that participated in this project. We realized that with more helping hands, the workload of each volunteer was cut down and thus our efficiency was increased. As a result, we were able to devote more time getting to know the elderly. The elderly patients were also delighted to interact with us.

Bonding with an elderly patient over card games.

Group photo of my team

Project Clean-Up was a wonderful experience. I gained more insights into the living conditions of the elderly who live alone, and am more aware of the ailments that affect them. I am grateful to the participants who have devoted their time to this worthy cause. It was a demanding day for all the volunteers, but I am sure we all had the same mission in mind, that is, to help others to the best of our ability.

Mr Fong was just one of the underprivileged patients under the care of HNF. Many patients live alone, require medical attention and often have nobody to talk to. I hope my article is able to raise awareness for such elderly patients who live in the same country as us.

I strongly encourage everyone to participate in similar activities, because your presence can bring so much joy and make a difference to the lives of others.

Written by: Boo Wei Ting, Diploma in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Technology  

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