A New Lease of Life

Jan 08, 2019   |   SIM-UOL SRC Transformer

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Past the successful Rag and Bone event last November, the Singapore Institute of Management-University of London (SIM-UOL) Student Representative Council (SRC) Transformers turned their sights to home refurbishments for needy families.

With the help of Heartware Network, the Transformers spruced up 10 home units of beneficiaries from Ang Mo Kio FSC in December using the funds they previously raised, in support of President’s Challenge. With a turnout of more than 100 volunteers, they managed to work their magic just a day.

Transformers brought in new furniture after completing their paint work.

It was, by far, one of the most satisfying programmes the Transformers had participated in, as their efforts had not only improved the client’s living conditions, but brought delight over what is now incredibly visually pleasing.

We picked the minds of 2 committee members:


Clement Chong Wen Hao, 24

Year 2 Banking and Finance Student

SIM-UOL Transformers Committee Overall-in-Charge


What is this entire project about and when did the planning process started?

The planning process started since July 2018 but the juniors only came in during September 2018. The committee started to plan for 3 different events – Rag & Bone, Games Carnival with MINDS and Home Refurbishment. Rag & Bone event was conducted to raise funds for the other two events. We collected recyclables such as electronics, newspaper, old shoes, etc. We then sold them to the waste trading company to get money.


What was your first impression of the beneficiaries and their state of living?

4 out of 10 units had bed bugs and they required more attention. 6 out of 10 units required major painting. Certain parts of the house were not clean and the beneficiaries may have faced difficulties cleaning them as well. They live a very simple life in one room flats. We provided some things for them to improve their living conditions.


What are some of the difficulties you faced during this engagement?

 For me, it’s budgeting. We made sure not to overspend while hitting the requirements of each unit. House ICs had to check for every single detail of the housing needs and gain consent from the seniors if they were alright with the new furniture or appliances. Some of them were uncomfortable with change.


What did you learn from all these?

The biggest lesson was that most of us are quite fortunate, even after having spent just a day with the beneficiaries or refurbishing their houses. We felt better to have impacted someone else’s life. It really requires us to have the heart to work through the planning phase because one person alone wouldn’t be able to do it. But if all of us put in the effort and have the heart to help these people, it becomes a meaningful event and the outcome is really satisfying.


Leave a message for your committee members and the beneficiaries!

 Good job! Throughout this past 3.5 months, we really put in a lot of effort. It’s not easy to plan an entire event. The fact that they join this committee is solely for the purpose of doing something meaningful.

For the beneficiaries, I hope they are satisfied with what we had done, I really hope so. We did our best to give back to the society and we hope they really liked it.

Shannon Goh Jia Ling, 22

Year 2 Data Science and Business Analytics Student

SIM-UOL Transformers Programme Senior


You were from Transformers 2017. Why did you join again?

 It joined again with my friends. I also wouldn’t serve again if I was unwilling. I really like volunteer work and helping those in need. It is very meaningful and fulfilling for me.


What was your first impression of the beneficiaries and their state of living?

It was different from when I was junior back then, and now as a senior. As a junior, I was shocked at first because I had never been into a house with bed bugs before. When I learnt that we might step into a house filled with bed bugs, it scared me a lot! I remembered spraying lots of insect repellent before entering the senior’s house and taking all the precautions.

But after the entire refurbishment, it was so fulfilling to see the ‘before’ and ‘after’. And I was part of the change in this. As a senior, once I got the home profile, I was like “okay, it’s time to help them. I am prepared to go in.”


What are some of your difficulties faced?

As a junior last year, I had to decipher everything from scratch. But as a senior, I was more involved in the back-end planning and that took a toll on me. Still I experienced and learnt so much in these two years.


What did you learn from all these?

I really hope that the seniors would be happy to see the change in their houses. Last year, the senior we helped held my hand and shook it for quite some time. He kept thanking us before sending us off. He called me a few days after saying that he would really like to thank the group for the fumigation. There were no more bed bugs and he was very happy.

I hope that they enjoyed themselves as much as I enjoyed myself. One day, I might be interested to go back and help again on my own.

Volunteers with a senior after revamping his house.

The Transformers refurbishment team.

The Transformers efforts did not stop at the refurbishments. They had a chance to work with Movement for the Intellectual Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) Me Too! Club with the help of Heartware Network.

The carnival-themed event proved successful with the participation of at least 60 MINDS clients, ending with a mass dance session!

A fun Zumba session with clients from MINDS.

Let’s get active with simple ball games!

As shared by student Troy,

“It was a very fulfilling and heartfelt event that have touched my heart. A lot of Singaporeans are not aware of such pressuring issue for intellectual disabilities beneficiaries. Through this experience, It makes me understand the real meaning of having empathy and not just sympathy. I felt the tiredness of taking care of the clients just in a day. Since then, I’m very glad and happy to know that there are quite a number of helpers who came voluntarily to guide and teach the clients daily. At the end of the event, I see a lot of smiling faces from the client which really makes my heart pounded.”

Kudos students for the amazing work done!

Interested in volunteering in support of President’s Challenge this 2019?

Check out for opportunities to do so on Youthbank!