One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

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We buy and consume all the time. It’s a habit difficult to throw, especially when we are always buried in slogans that shout “Out with the Old, In with the New”.

In time, we pile up useless things that clutter our living space. What can we do about this? Rather than throwing them away, we can send them over to the good ol’ Rag and Bone man. And imagine not just having 1 man collecting these useless treasures, but a 250-strong team.

On 11 November 2017, Heartware Network supported 250 students from Singapore Institute of Management University of London (SIM-UOL) in an annual fund-raising Rag and Bone event. The full day hunt involved collecting recyclables from residents staying in Sengkang. Proceeds raised from the sale of these items would fund two subsequent projects: a Children’s Carnival and a Home Refurbishment project for our Support Our Pioneers (SOP) beneficiaries.

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A volunteer waited patiently to collect unwanted items from a resident.

With the residents’ help in gathering recyclables like newspapers, unwanted clothing, and old electrical appliances, the volunteers managed to purge and clean the entire Sengkang estate. A whopping 29,665 housing units were visited in just one day!

Some volunteers claimed that this was their first experience being part of a Rag and Bone effort. They faced multiple rejections from the residents, and had to manage their own expectations and emotions. The greatest takeaway for these students was gaining more patience, resilience, and compassion amongst other amicable virtues.

Here it from them:

“I feel that Rag and Bone has a really meaningful purpose. I am honoured to be able to organise and execute such a big event. I felt that it went smoothly despite a number of hiccups. It was because I had all my members with me that we were able to solve those hiccups quickly and calmly.”

Lydia Leong Kit Min, 21, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM Global Education)

“The purpose of Rag and Bone is to raise funds to help the needy. However, to me, it is not just a fundraising event. It is also an opportunity for students to be more aware of what is happening in society. I want the students to also know that all the little things they do mean a lot to the people they help. Lastly, it was a good break from our studies – to shift the newspapers and other collectables. It makes for good, light exercise.”

 Justin Yeong Xiang Ping, 25, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM Global Education)

Later on 16 December 2017, the students kicked off the Refurbishment Project in conjunction with our Support Our Pioneers. The students targeted 15 homes of our underprivileged elderly in the Lengkok Bahru area. 130 student volunteers worked tirelessly the entire day; they cleaned, painted, and changed the furniture in these homes. Some volunteers even stayed longer than the stipulated time just to see the refurbishment to the end.

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A volunteer sought consent from the elderly before discarding expired food and medicine.

The volunteers demonstrated incredible passion and dedication towards helping the elderly own a safe, hygienic, and comfortable home to live in. It was most heart-warming to see the relief and approval on the elderly’s faces when they saw their homes completely transformed.

Check out some of these amazing transformations:

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 “When I first visited the elderly’s home I was assigned to, I found his home in a horrid state. The house reeked of urine and there were bed bugs crawling around his bed. When we talked to the elderly, he did not expect much from us but I felt that we could definitely help him live in a more sanitary and bug-free environment. During the refurbishment, we had our sponsored pest exterminator to help get rid of the bed bugs, and people to paint his whole house. With the help of my volunteers, we managed to finish the refurbishment in time so that he could have an early rest. I have learnt a lot from this experience and definitely felt that I have done something to help better someone’s life.”

Vincent Seah Yong Qiang, 23, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM Global Education)

“I feel that the home refurbishment was a very meaningful endeavour, and the satisfaction felt at the end far outweighs the tiring recces and preparation work. I hope this event would continue to be a tradition for the SIM-UOL Transformers family, as a little kindness goes a long way, especially so in this busy society that we live in.”

Jasper Oh How Chuan, 22, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM Global Education) 

Heartware Network is glad to be part of this fruitful engagement with the SIM-UOL students. In 2018, we will strive to have more collaborations with community partners as well as youth volunteers to better address and serve the needs of our beneficiaries.

The Support Our Pioneers programme aims to bridge the inter-generational gap and promote active ageing by empowering youths to reach out and serve the elderly. 

Join our volunteer team to make bi-monthly home visitations and organise activities and outings for the elderly. Click here to find out more!